The African wild dog, also called Cape hunting dog or painted dog, typically roams the open plains and sparse woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa and is an endangered species in the country.
Long-legged canines, wild dogs only have four toes per foot. Their Latin name means “painted wolf” and refers to the irregular, mottled appearance of their coat. Patches of red, black, white, brown and yellow fur makes each animal unique.
A monogamous breeding pair usually head up a pack. Females can have litters of between 2 and 20 pups, which are usually cared for by an entire pack. Social creatures, packs have been known to share food and assist weak or ill members of their pack. Wild dogs communicate by touch and vocalisations.
These dogs are faced with shrinking room to roam in the African wilderness and are also quite susceptible to diseases spread by domestic animals. An endangered species, it is no surprise that every sighting of new pups in the wild causes great excitement.
Kruger’s Ngala Private Game Reserve has welcomed the arrival of 17 puppies during the latter months of 2015. Guides and trackers have kept a close eye on the pack and managed to film the little ones for all to see. The team noted four “caretakers” around the den, and after a little waiting around, got their first sighting of the 17 pups. The pups didn’t disappoint and amused the team with a good few hours of play.
Video credit: Brett Graham
Image credit: Petro Kotzé