Best Game Reserves for Wild Dogs

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May 4th, 2004, 11:46 AM
  #1
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Best Game Reserves for Wild Dogs

Hey Guys,
Knowing that many of you either have upcoming trips soon or have just returned, do any of you know where the best reserves/lodges are for wild dogs? I'm open to any African country.

A few of you stated that Mombo claims to have them but they haven't been spotted in a year or two.

I know it may be a tall order but the dogs are the one animal left I'd love to get good photos of! My two shots in Londolozi were a little too panned 'cause he was moving so quickly chasing impalas.

Am looking into planning our next trip (possibly Rocco style-no tour operator involvement) and outside of seeing the lone one in Londo, would love the opportunity to view a pack of these migratory critters. Thanks.


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May 4th, 2004, 12:10 PM
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divewop

I would say Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa.Wild dogs are a speciality of this area and as far as I know they are thriving there.
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May 4th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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divewop

Check out this new lodge in Madike(the sister lodge of Leopard Hills,SSGR)Madikwehills.com


Rates
Up to Aug 2004:R2990pp/night

Looks great!

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May 4th, 2004, 12:57 PM
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kwando lagoon camp in botswana has had dogs den in their area something like the last 6 yrs. i saw the pack in may 2000 and it was fantastic. the other top places to see dogs are chitabe camp on the outskirts of the moremi (they have a wild dog research team there) and up in teh duma tau/savuti region where there are always dogs in the area.
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May 4th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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and just to add, mombo is not currently a good place to see dogs, they have only seen them very sporadically over the last yr there. i think the problem is that there has been an increase in teh lion population and the dogs have moved out.
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May 4th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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I believe bigcountry is right on. Those are all great camps/areas currently for wild dogs. I was fortunate to follow a hunt and arrive on a new kill while at Duma Tau in January 2003. I am scheduled to lead a predator safari in which I have chosen both Duma Tau and Chitabe in hopes of seeing dogs. Keep in mind that if you travel in the second half of July and even into August you greatly enhance your opportunities to see the dogs as they are denning and thus the guides are likely to know exactly where they are. In July the young will still be at the den making for the best photos. In August they will be becoming mobile but unable to keep up on long hunts thus will still be easier to track and using a relatively small area.
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May 4th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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Wild Dogs have been spotted recently for the first time in a couple years to South Luangwa for the first time in a couple years, and right by Puku Ridge and Chichele Presidential Lodge.

This from the April 26th newsletter from Robin Pope Safaris:

As for wild dog - Shanie had a wonderful sighting so over to her for more..


"My first drive in the park since I got back proved to be a very exciting one, with an amazing hour's viewing of one of the packs of wild dog that are in the area at the moment. I had not seen these wonderful animals for nearly 2 years and had never seen them interacting in the way that they were on Saturday. As we arrived at a lagoon near Chichele Hill the dogs were busy finishing off a recently killed puku. There was lots of growling and squeaking as the younger dogs got a chance to fight over the remaining bits. The older dogs had all collapsed under the shady bushes with very full stomachs. The vultures started circling over head and several hooded and white backed vultures landed to pick at some of the remains at the actual site of the kill. A nearby herd of elephants were extremely agitated and distressed by the dogs and several of the large females charged at them, trumpeting loudly. The dogs however seem fairly unperturbed and just retreated to the bushes and lay panting in the shade. It was fantastic to watch the interaction between the dogs, elephants and vultures, and a real treat to be able to spend an hour with the rarely seen wild dogs.
Back to Kim....."

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers
Kim


Hopefully the dogs stick around and I am lucky enough to see them! That would truly be one of the highlights, as I have not yet had the pleasure to see Wild Dogs.
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May 4th, 2004, 04:03 PM
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A large pack of wild dogs have been denning near Selinda for the past couple of years. We saw about 6 adults and 8 pups there in 2002. Here's the website:

http://www.linyanti.com/
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May 4th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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I've heard that wild dogs are around Selinda but we didn't see them when we were just there. Other people just ahead of us said they saw lots of game, but I think the giraffe, elephants and other similar animals may seem like a lot to first timers. We saw a few very thin lions due to the tall grass. Kept hoping for wild dog, but in two days nothing. It could be they were out there in the tall grass. Who knows?
 
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May 4th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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The thing to understand is a pack of dogs can have a home range larger than 600 square miles although most are probably much less. When the dogs are not denning they rotate throughout their range every couple of days so that the prey does not become too accustomed to their presence -- one of the reasons they are successful on 85% of their hunts, which is by far the best hunting rate of any large mammal in the world. Lions are good to do 30% and solitary hunters tend to have it even worse.

As far as I know there are two packs in the Linyanti area. Packs can overlap since they have such enormous ranges they can only defend their denning area. Basically all of these Linyanti camps are seeing the same dogs from these two packs. Where they den and their favored areas may tip the luck scale some but all of these camps have them at some point depending on where they are hunting, and conversely go days without them. Similarly, as of February Chitabe had two different packs (including one 23 strong) using the area. The added advantage there is the Wild Dog research station in the area so I would imagine the dogs movements are much better understood.

Really, you need to go during the denning season to have anything close to gauranteed viewing. If you can't make that season as I can't pick the camps that have them the most and spend as much time as you can. This is the case where it makes sense to stay 3 or 4 nights in a lodge rather than 2 at 2 different lodges.

For me seeing a pack of 21 dogs devour an impala was the highlight of my trip to Botswana. It is well worth planning and to keep trying until you see them -- amazing animals.
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May 4th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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I admit I am a newbie at this safari adventure. Would you please be kind enough to explain the fasination of the wild dogs? We are looking forward to the elephants, giraffe, lions, and .... but want to make sure we understand the importance of the wild dogs.

We are staying at Duma Tua, Savuti, and Chitabe - so based on PredatorBiologist, we may have an opportunity to see them.

Please be kind on your replies.
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May 4th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Thanks you guys. All this info is certainly helpful. The wild dog has been on the top of my list and I guess one reason is because they were so misunderstood and labeled as the "red headed step kid" of African animals.

We were shocked to see the lone one in Londolozi. If it wasn't for our tracker spotting him a couple hundred yards away in tall grass(how he did it still amazes me!) while we were looking at a herd of elephants, I would have never seen it. We tried to follow him, but he was way too fast and the grass way too tall. But boy, he was a beauty and I can't wait to see more of them

Predator, I take it you're saying that July & August(winter months) are the best months to see them because of the denning etc. And trust me, I will stay somewhere as long as I can to have a favorable outcome.

I know nothing is guaranteed on a safari but just having the timeframes for viewing them narrowed helps.

Good luck to all of you in seeing them on your adventures to Africa.
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May 4th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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PredatorBiologist,

Thanks for the informative post. To see that pack of 21 dogs must have been really special.

JackieSun,

Regarding the importance of dogs, here is my opinion. For me, to imagine that a dog could survive the wilds of Africa with so many other predators such as lions, hyenas and leopards is really fascinating. Plus, since they are not as plentiful, after going to Africa a couple times and seeing lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo, hippos, antelope of various varieties, etc., there is not a single animal that I would rather see on my upcoming trip than a wild dog.

I am a total dog lover, with 13 dogs at the moment (just had a litter of seven), dogs have a special place in my heart, whether they are the kind that can hang out with me and ride places besides me in my car or whether they are the kind that I would be wise not to dare come within 10 meters that are capable of taking down antelope and often unintimidated by the presence of lions and elephants.

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May 4th, 2004, 10:03 PM
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I'm sure you can all tell that wild dogs have a special place in my heart.

JackieSun: I will share with you some of the things that fascinate me about the wild dogs. First, even though they are the most successful hunters in Africa and have the largest litters they are the rarest large mammal in southern Africa (2nd in all Africa to the Ethiopian wolf). Long misunderstood and persecuted as savages because they are not "clean killers" - being relatively small and lacking the kill bite of a big cat they kill by disengourging prey on the run. It may look terrible but prey actually go into immediate shock saving them from pain as opposed to a buffalo that may struggle for hours with lions. Ironically, the pack has a sensitivity unknown in any other predator where elderly or injured dogs (such as broken legs) who cannot keep up are fed and maintained by the other members of the pack as if they are puppies.

Unlike wolves, lions and other social predators the dogs do not form a ranking system by dominance but rather through passivity with begging rituals. Their social bonds are much stronger than lions and hyenas which is how they can successfully compete with them. The other predators lack the team work which is why the dogs can easily route a number of hyenas and even a couple lions despite being so much smaller. This is also why they succeed almost every time they hunt. Finally, since they just aren't seen with frequency a sighting makes them so special -- in fact sadly in east Africa it is almost impossible to find them so they are a jewel of the south African experience. Almost everyone who sees your photos will misidentify the dogs as hyenas.

I'm sure you will have an amazing safari and see most of what you are expecting, hopefully, you will get the big surprise of seeing the wild dog and can report back how that felt. If you get the thrill of following them on the run I predict it will be one of the biggest things you talk about.
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May 4th, 2004, 10:10 PM
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Roccco: Your dog sitting costs while on safari must be as much as a night in Mombo -- or two nights in Chichele.
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May 4th, 2004, 11:40 PM
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PB,

I have a full time "domestic", as they say in South Africa, whom I may otherwise not need but once a week if not for all my dogs.

I am just a sucker for a stray dog on the streets and unfortunately, I was irresponsible in not geting one of them spayed, resulting in a litter of six puppies.

This very same dog was unknown to me pregnant at the time I rescued her from the street and had puppies about six weeks after I took her home. I successfully adopted each and every one of those puppies out to my neighbors in the same gated community as I live, and now I will have to duplicate the same task. This dog gave birth on November 20th and again by April 27th, despite the fact that she was with her puppies until the end of January. Talk about fertility!

I will miss seeing these pups for 24 days while I am gone and hate to leave three week old pups, but besides my domestic, I am bringing in another person to walk my other dogs each day and to check in on the puppies. After spending a couple weeks with them after returning, they should be good for adoption, but I am more concerned with this litter since they are all dark. With my last litter I had about half very light brown colored, and half dark brown colored, and the lighter ones were the first to go, regardless of sex.

Anybody want a half pure-bred corgi and a half shar-pei/pointer mix, or six of them?!
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May 5th, 2004, 02:03 AM
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Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania has a very good-sized wild dog population. While those animals were not a priority for us, it is to my understanding that those people who go to Selous to see (the more preferred} "painted dogs," are not disappointed.
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May 5th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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JackieSun, my fascination with wild dogs springs from their rarity and despite being very small, their ability to be the best pack hunters in the world as PB mentioned. when we were at lagoon camp they were denning very close by and everyday we followed them on the hunt. we saw them kill a steenbok and a kudu. following teh dogs from the beginning of the hunt to teh end is amazing. you get to see them fan out with military precision and signal far across the savanna when any of then sees a prey species. then the whole pack converges with incredible speed (these dogs can run close to 40-50mph). it's one of teh most amazing things i've ever seen. basically if you see dogs you are going to see action. if you see cats you are probably going to see a lot of sleeping.
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May 5th, 2004, 05:12 AM
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Here is a great looking 10 night package for wild dog viewing. I am THRILLED the two national parks featured happen to be the two national parks that I will be spending 11 nights at shortly (South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks).

Here is the link:

http://www.worringham.com/wilddogs.html
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May 5th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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Rocco-
What a cool website! I'd like to get the details on dates and prices and how many people on that safari. Their other safaris look interesting too.

You'll be right in the heart of wild dog country in Zambia. I hope you get the chance to see them.

And good for you for adopting so many strays. We're the same on this side of the country but with cats. We've got four indoor cats of our own and about 4-5 outside strays that we feed. Trying to catch all of them and have them fixed and find homes for them is quite the challenge.

It's amazing but just because we live at a dead end street, people just drop their animals off to fend for themselves. Aaargh!

Good luck finding homes for all the pups.
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