It is with heavy hearts that we have to report the sad death of one of our Wild Dogs, an adult male named Dalerwa. We thought we had lost him earlier in the month when the dogs came across a group of Lions in thick bush. The pack, minus Dalerwa appeared unscathed and we assumed the worst had happened, but he happily reappeared with the pack in perfect health a couple of days later. As he does not wear a radio-collar, his whereabouts during this period is unknown.
A few days ago however, Kristi, our new Wild Dog researcher, was out with the Wild Dogs when a group of sub-adult Lions (the same group that showed up with the call-ups) appeared out of the bush. All the dogs ran in one direction, except for poor Dalerwa who made a dash for freedom in another direction. The Lions were onto him and broke his back instantly.
The conflict between Lions and Wild Dogs is well known, and having been born on Venetia which has a very healthy Lion population, Dalerwa would not have been naïve of the dangers. It is always sad to lose an animal, particularly one that has been well-studied, but we try to remember that it part of the natural process. As a subordinate dog, Dalerwa did not play a part in the reproduction of the pack, but was a notably good hunter and provided generously for the pack’s puppies. As we go into the season where the Wild Dogs will den and produce another litter of puppies to feed, it may be that his absence is felt by the adults of the pack, who have now dwindled to just 4 in number. Wild Dogs are extremely resilient and we will keep you posted on their progress.