For a number of days a pack of wild dogs had been seen around the Ximpalapala clearings. One day 5 dogs would be seen, the next 4, the next 6. Our hopes were raised that the dogs may have been denning somewhere in the vicinity, but it wasn’t long before we realised that the regular pack of 9 that is seen in the Sabi Sands had split up and were trying to find each other.
In any event, we headed North over the Sand River early one morning to try and find the pack and hopefully see them hunting. It wasn’t long before Renias Mhlongo found their tracks and established a direction, and shortly after that we were with the pack on the hunt.
Wild Dogs have one of the highest success rates among predators; catching prey over 70% of the time they go hunting. Today was no exception, as they managed to bring down an impala after having chased it into a thicket. The noisy feeding of the pack attracted the attention of a nearby hyena who came loping in to see if he could steal some scraps from the carcass.
The dogs were having none of it, and made it very clear that they resented the hyena’s presence.
The hyena was persistent however, but he came a bit too close and one of the dogs latched onto his nose, refusing to let go while the hyena squealed in pain!
Wild dogs have one of, if not the strongest bite for an animal of their size, so the hyena was very lucky to get away with little more than a very painful nose and a bruised ego. He still came back for more, and this time was lucky enough to grab a piece of meat which he promptly made off with.
His tenacity was rewarded in the end, but I doubt he will forget that bite on his nose in a hurry!
Filmed by Jack Wilson (Londolozi Guest)
Written by James Tyrrell