Wild Dogs Chased by Elephants

by on August 16, 2011

in Wildlife

The pack of wild dogs began moving just before sunset. A balmy winter’s afternoon breathed across of the open savannah as the pack ran in a westerly direction. The alpha female led the charge followed by the other adults with the young pups and a limping male close behind. Ardently searching for an opportunity to hunt, the dogs covered a massive amount of terrain as they got a feel for the rhythm of the bushveld. What they could not have excepted, however, was an encounter with Africa’s largest living land mammal – the elephant.

A wild dog pup just after waking up in the late afternoon - Rich Laburn

A wild dog pup just after waking up in the late afternoon - Rich Laburn

Bounding along main road, the pack herd a crack of branches to their south and veered off in that direction. It could have been anything, however to the trained ear it was clearly a breeding herd of elephants. The crackling of branches continued as the breeding herd nervously shuffled around, aware of the disturbed silence. A low rumble from the matriarch signaled the herd to stick together and within a matter of seconds they were tightly bunched up, awaiting the potential threat.

One of the members of the pack begins running at sunset.  Naturally curious and moving around as a pack, they have a propensity for moving through vast tracts of bushveld - Rich Laburn

One of the members of the pack begins running at sunset. Naturally curious and moving around as a pack, they have a propensity for moving through vast tracts of bushveld - Rich Laburn

As the dogs ran through the bush and saw the elephants, the matriarch let rip with a booming trumpet and rushed forward at the pack. The next 2 minutes were absolute chaos as the herd followed the rampant matriarch in her desperate attempt to chase the dogs off.

Once the animals had split up the commotion died down and the pack of dogs continued on their mission to find a potential prey species to hunt. Although it is extremely unlikely that a pack of wild dogs will ever hunt a baby elephant, one must never rule out the impossible. I believe that elephants have a tendency to view all forms of predators as a threat and thus behave in such an aggressive manner towards them. Never shy to stand their ground and assert their size, this herd of elephants did have young calves within their ranks and thus decided to take no chances.

The pack of wild dogs runs down the road away from the upset breeding herd.  Later that afternoon, they would find and unsuccessfully hunt an impala ewe - Rich Laburn

The pack of wild dogs runs down the road away from the upset breeding herd. Later that afternoon, they would find and unsuccessfully hunt an impala ewe - Rich Laburn

This was without a doubt one of the most interesting interactions I have ever witnessed between wild dogs and another species at Londolozi. If it was possible to keep up with wild dogs when running and hunting through the bush, I know that we would witness their wierd and wonderful encounter with many other species of animals.

Have you ever witnessed a wild dog interacting with another species? Let us know in the comments section below.

Photographed and Written by: Rich Laburn
Filmed by: Rita Shaw and Rich Laburn


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  • Penny Parker

    What sensational footage! Those ellies weren’t taking ANY chances hey. Stunning interaction. Never seen Wild Dog interact with any other species before in the wild, so this has been great, thanks. The guests are clearly South African..? The lady say’s “Oh mommy” :) :)

  • Shannon Marnell

    I have indeed seen a wild dog hunt an Impala. Her story is unique as she is referred to the lone painted dog at Mombo camp in Botswana. The first time i saw her was May 2009 and truly felt sorry for her as she was the last of her species in the area. How would she survive? She looked healthy though. I returned there is January of this year and now the most unusual thing happened. Since i have seen her last she teamed up with three black backed Jackel. It appears they need each other to survive. Although the hunt that i saw in 2009 was unsuccessful as a Hyena caught wind and we lost the painted dog. However it led us to a Leopard that just killed an impala and was dragging it into the bush. It was amazing then and now to have just seen her as healthy as other with the Jackel makes me feel privileged I was able to see her twice. I hope to see her again into the future.

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich Laburn

      Thats an incredible story Shannon. I have also read about it before – quite a unique and special relationship between the jackals and the wild dog. I tend to agree with you about needing each other to survive. Both animals are social and fairly gregarious, perhaps they also need companionship as much as hunting partners?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tnolle Tom Nolle

    We saw a pack of wild dogs in Botswana, hunting impala successfully at nightfall. They were then attacked by a pack of hyenas, and the result was a free-for-all that sounded like the end of the world! Dogs and hyenas ran through the beams of spotlights and rover lights (the only illumination by that point) with chunks of impala in their mouths, and we saw one dog injured in the fight. It was too dark for a video, sadly!

  • Bronwyn

    The Londolozi Sales team is in Vegas and you are killing us each day as the game viewing just get better and better, Wild dogs and Elephants (come on!!!) We miss the Londolozi Family!!!
    energy from us all
    Bron, Boyd- Jill and James

  • John Holley

    An insane sighting! High adrenaline levels as the elephants started chasing all and any one in sight!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000505885035 Sue Prince

    Great footage, thanks so much for sharing. Unbelievable sighting.

  • Pingback: The Week in Pictures # 8

  • Gail Woloz

    Wow! Exciting clip!!! And especially for my clients – the Schinik family – who experienced this wonder with you all from a vehicle! They are now in Botswana and nothing seems to be living up to their experience at Londolozi! Thank you!

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich Laburn

      It is an absolute pleasure Gail, having spent a bit of time with the Schinik family out on some of the drives, including the one above I must admit that it was quite a sensational week of game viewing. Thanks as always for your kind comments on the blog and our facebook account. Rich

  • http://www.afterautism.com Diane Hunter

    Whoa! Catching up with the blog and what a spectacular event to witness. Clearly, not wise to mess with a momma elephant. Great video, Rich!

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich Laburn

      Thanks Di, it was a truly spectacular afternoon to be a part of it. Glad you enjoyed the video.

  • http://www.Flashflashrevolution.com/profile/CraigGait/ Krystyna

    Good post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!