Having studied Real Estate at university, I always find it quite fun to do a twist on the animals searching for property. In a previous blog I wrote about the Weavers and how they find the perfect spots for their nests. Recently, Londolozi Real Estate is being eyed out by a different animal that is in the market for a home to raise their young; the wild dog.
A particular pack of wild dogs has been seen a lot more regularly on Londolozi recently and it seems that they are scratching around, starting to look for a den site to raise their pups.
The main pack we have been viewing has been seen with a heavily pregnant alpha bitch, who is probably only a few weeks away from giving birth. Soon she will struggle to keep up with the rest of them, and will need to give birth, but before the alpha female gives birth, the pack needs to find a suitable den.
There are three important factors that affect property value: location, location and location. This applies to the wild dogs too, as they venture far and wide to find the perfect spot.
One thing Londolozi is not short of is large, impressive termite mounds, many of which are inactive. Much like us and going to view houses on a show day, the wild dog are house hunting too. Dens should be as parasite free as possible, and ideally the hunting in the area should be good. With the impala population in the Sabi Sand Reserve numbering close to 20 000, I don’t think food will be a problem for them, although they do like hunting where it’s open.
Wild dogs are one of the rarer sightings we get here as they can cover a lot of ground in a day. They can even run across the whole of Londolozi without anyone seeing them.
We have seen the pack of wild dog mostly in our central parts of the reserve, where we haven’t been seeing as much movement from the local lions over the last few months. Wild dogs can reportedly den in response to lion movement, tending to establish where there is less chance of bumping into their greatest threat. The denning period coincides with the end of the impala rut (breeding season). During this time there are a number of out-of-condition rams exhausted by the intense territorial defence and breeding stress. This makes them easy targets for the wild dogs.
Once the pups are a couple of months old, a wild dog pack will move them a few times to new dens within the first 4 months of the denning period. This can be for a number of reasons but a lot of it is to avoid parasite build-up within the den, and possibly to move to an area of better hunting, should the food resources near the den have become depleted after a solid couple of months of having the dogs in the area.
With many factors to consider, the pack has over 65 000 hectares to choose from. Here’s hoping they will choose to den on Londolozi.
I think it’s a prime location.