Meet Wild Dogs, aka Hunting or Painted Dogs, at Porini Rhino Camp, Ol Pejeta Conservancy

An article by Porini I just had to share and re-post:

A chance meeting with wild dogs

by Porini Camps on August 21, 2013 in Game Drives

I made a mental note of what I wanted to see more than anything: wild dogs.

We arrived at Porini Rhino Camp in Ol Pejeta, Kenya, and straight away checked in, got dressed and went back out ready to go for an evening game drive. In our 4×4 it was only my colleague, our spotter, the driver guide and of course myself! As we were leaving the camp and before I had said anything, my colleague blurted out ‘I want to see wild dogs!’. So began our adventure in Ol Pejeta.

We passed lots of game like an eloping jackal, an Egyptian goose (who looked a little lost), proud reticulated giraffes, and grazers who would rather show us their backsides. When you enter a conservancy, you understand the reasoning behind the setting up of one in the first place. Where else can you see so many different species so relaxed in their habitat, completely ignoring your presence?

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African wild dogs have not been seen in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy for a very long time as they are victims of hunting. They are also threatened by habitat fragmentation, road casualties, poisoning, snaring and are in competition with larger carnivores for prey. They now only live in the savannahs and grasslands, making them one of Africa’s most endangered predators. In the last 2 years a pack of them decided to make an appearance and have, since then, made the Ol Pejeta Conservancy their home. Home means comfort and comfort means babies. There have been two litters of wild dog pups born in the conservancy and their numbers are slowly, but surely, increasing.

Then we saw them in the distance; 10 black ‘spots’ hopping along on the horizon, getting closer and dodging the trees, one behind the other. We stiffened and wondered what in the world they could be. Then our spotter uttered the magical words ‘wild dogs!’. We sat there mesmerised by the uniformity of their trot. I heard the rhythm in my head; ‘left right, left right’. We continued watching them as they got closer. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had never seen them before and here they were. A pack of ten wild dogs passing us without a glance as they focused their attention on the widely-available prey. The sun was setting and the leader decided to sprint. Suddenly the pack of trotting wild dogs became a rush of Speedy Gonzales as they hunted for their meal. Wildlife scattered. The wind seemed to blow faster. The sky turned a fiery orange and I felt like we were a part of a supernatural documentary.

We stopped and watched the gorgeous creatures strut their stuff, completely unconcerned with the attention we were paying them. The air was fresh. All we heard was the rustle of trees in the wind and the occasional animal munching and grunting. It was just them and us. It felt like we could have been the only 4 people in the world among such incredible African beauty.

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Wild dogs at Porini Rhino Camp

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We watched the pack for some time and as the sun finally set we left them to their hunt. We were happy enough to just close our eyes on the drive back. It so happened that they did finally make a kill and the other guests who were still on a game drive enjoyed that moment – just them and the pack.

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Photos courtesy of Chantal Migongo-Bake; Conservation and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. Video and article courtesy of Aleema Noormohamed; Marketing Executive. Gamewatchers Safaris.

About Porini Camps

Porini Camps are small luxury rustic eco-camps in private conservancies within the Maasai Mara, Laikipia and Amboseli ecosystems, Kenya. Our camps are situated on lands leased from local communities and are staffed by local people, making your holiday with Porini a truly meaningful experience for all concerned.

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