Many guests arrive at Londolozi eager to see the Big 5 (lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, and rhinos). However, there is such a variety of animals in the Sabi Sands that we often don’t even think of. One such animal is arguably one of my favourites of all time – the wild dog. Perhaps the more romantic name, Painted Dog, is more apt for this post. Many new safari guests are unaware that these animals even exist which gives me great joy when we do manage to find them on safari, which is incredibly uncommon as they are very rare to see.
I could spend this blog post telling you the hard facts about painted dogs, like how they live in packs bonded by the alpha male and female and how they weigh between 18 to 28 kilograms. I could tell you that the simplest pack structure is a set of related males and a set of related females, with no genetic relationship between the males and females. I could share how they hunt as a pack by running their prey down and that they can take down prey as small as a scrub hare and as large as a buffalo.
Instead, I decided to attempt to write a poem about them to help you understand the magnificence of a pack of painted dogs! They deserve more than just interesting facts…
The Wolves of Africa
A paintbrush dips into a palette of brown, black, and white watercolours.
The colours swirl and craft the intricate mosaic on our coats.
The paintbrush flows in a circular motion to paint our Mickey Mouse ears.
The paint runs forming shapes our pack has gained over the years.
We dance with the paint.
We are the dance of the savannah,
in unity, we weave.
If Wildness was a secret song.
It would be the hoo calls of the painted.
The strength of our family.
Nurturing the pups, sharing our spoils of the hunts by sacrificing our share.
Together, we will press onward, sprinting across vast distances as the sun descends and the full moon takes its throne.
Isolated I fear a savage wild, but I am the savage with my pack by my side.
In harmony, we thrive when we are in our pack,
If a hyena dares, we stand as one to protect the pack, and we battle for the pack.
But there is a shadow that prowls on the outskirts of the pack, and if the weak fallback, the shadow prevails; shadows loom, numbers dwindle, a threatened existence.
We advance, never glancing backwards, a symphony of painted souls in the heart of the untamed land.
In the untamed wilderness, let our tale be told, of the resilient ones, agile and bold.