Guiding at Kanana has brought a lot happiness to my life for lots of reasons, the most important one is that I am able to view predators in their natural environment. It was a crisp winter morning on game drive when we came across a pack of seven African wild dog basking on an open flood plain. One does not see wild dog in this state very often as they are constantly on the move so this was a great sighting as we really got to observe these unique animals while they were resting.
About ten minutes later a Reed buck walked past the dogs, due to their camouflaged colouration, the antelope was completely oblivious to the fact that they were lying right there. All of a sudden the dogs pricked their ears up and sat to attention watching the Reed buck’s every move. One of the dogs instinctively got up and immediately started the chase and at this stage it looked as though it was going to make the kill. There was such excitement coming from the back of the game vehicle as this really was an action packed moment and we were all expecting the kill to take place right then and there.
At this point the chase was about a hundred metres ahead of us, they were running along the edge of the marsh when a herd of Red Lechwe happened to be drinking just in front of them. The Reed buck looped around the Lechwe and the dog slowed down to a halt, probably realising he had lost distance that he would not be able to make up without help from his team.
The rest of the pack watched from their spot on the ground with no intention of helping their fellow team mate with the hunt. It was unfortunate that we did not get to see the kill but an encounter like this is just as exciting to watch, even if there was no positive outcome for the wild dog.
Blog by Simon (professional guide)
Photo credit: Des Green