It’s so hot here that I can’t do anything outside nor do I want to do any of the projects indoors that require physical exertion! So I am going to start on including some of last year’s pictures. I’m starting with the wild dogs. I was fortunate to be at Mashatu when the dogs were about to be released. I saw them three times in the boma before their release. The first time was just to feed them. Someone shoots an impala and brings it inside for them to eat.
The second time was to dart a couple more dogs to put on more collars.
Oops! However, he didn’t seem to notice at all being so intent on eating.
And the third time was to release the dogs. There were so many people there… landowners, reserve people, and government officials.
The guy on the left is Rex who was the liaison to the village for the project. He was very kind to me and took me out with him for a very educational day. The middle guy is Craig, whose project this is. One of the things that is part of his project is creating a ‘biofence’ which requires them to place scat from other wild dogs around the perimeter of the area they would like the dogs to stay. So far it’s been fairly successful. The man on the right is a professional photographer and was working on a book, perhaps, about the wild dogs. They had dinner at Mashatu and were very friendly and gave me all the advice I asked for. They have a book on the greater Tuli reserve which I bought and had autographed. 🙂
This is one of the landowners. Many reserves are created by landowners who remove their fences and allow the wildlife to travel freely in the area. I went on a game drive with him that evening. He was very kind and interested in what I was doing and where I was from.
This fellow in profile is Pete of Pete’s Pond. He also was very friendly and also wanted to know how I was enjoying my time at Mashatu. I met him several times. He truly loves this piece of land.
An impala was shot and tied to a vehicle and then dragged out of the boma knowing that the dogs would follow. There were a couple of subordinate dogs that were reluctant to leave but eventually they all left. However, for the first few nights they returned to the boma because that was where they had been fed for six months. If they had not successfully hunted large prey after a week, they would have killed something for them. There were several adults that were captured as adults before being kept for a period of time before they were transferred to Mashatu. The youngsters, although grown, had never experienced hunting. There was also some concern that they wouldn’t have the stamina to run down their prey, usually impala, to exhaustion. Fortunately, after a week or so, they did manage to hunt successfully.
One night, after they’d been out for several days, they visited the pond. They hadn’t learned yet that there are occasions when you don’t want to approach the pond if you are a relatively small predator. This particular evening the elephants were at the pond. And when the dogs arrived they had a ‘cow’! There was much trumpeting and running and they chased the dogs away in short order. Soon there was nothing left at the pond but dust and silence. There is a video on youtube of that event. In fact, at the very beginning you can see the vehicle we were in go flying by on our way to the pond.
I will upload an album of other pictures of the dogs.