Friday, June 27, 2008

A Wild Morning at Morukuru

What was the first thing you did this morning?  Perhaps make a nice cup of coffee or read the newspaper?

This morning this was mine...

This is Holiday, the tracker at Morukuru, and me carrying a freshly killed Impala out of the staff village.  During the early morning hours the Wild Dogs made it into the fence around the lodge and killed the female impala right next to our house hence my not so pleasant first-activity-of-the-morning! :)

There are currently two packs of Wild Dog in Madikwe and this was the 'Collection Pack'.  Originaly about six strong, there are now only two left as a result of fighting with the much larger 'Dwarsberg Pack'.  The Kgala lions (my photographic obsession for this week) also comes into their story as they killed the pups of the Collection Pack about two weeks ago.  Very sad story but something for a different Blog.

So anyway, before even having a chance to have a cup of coffee we had to get the carcass out of the fenced in area as the female dog was inside the fence and the male was still outside.  She was visibly uncomfortable with us walking towards her and not having the safety of her pack.  I think she was also still quite 'emotional' (at the risk of giving the dog human emotions) and stressed at having lost her pups less than two weeks ago.

We got the carcass out of the fenced area and dropped it about a hundred meters from the entrance gate.  The male, who was circling us the whole time, was there in a flash but the female was now stuck inside the fence as the electric gate closed before she could get out.

After trying for about twenty minutes we eventually got her out of the fence and she joined the male at the kill.  It was very sad to see how she ran away from the kill every ten minutes or so to scan the surrounding bushes, obviously looking for something.  They might not intelectualise about things like we do but the mother's insticnt is definitley still a very strong factor in nature.

I was still a great feeling to have these two very endangered animals close to us as they fed on the impala.  Even though there were only two of them, they ate very quickly.  One of the reasons for this is that they do not rank very high on the predator hirarchy and even a hyena or leopard can steal the kill from them.  Kill, eat quick and move on has worked for them for hundreds of uears so why change it now.

My original plan was to do a Blog about the Madikwe Gardens today but with the Weekly High Five also due I might only get to that later this weekend.  I also have a lot of images of the fanily of Banded Mongoose who we have been watching around the property the last week.  Very cute but I just had to upload a quick Blog about our Wild Morning at Morukuru!  I will upload all of the images from this morning to the Photo-Africa Stock Library with next weeks big upload.

Make sure to check back over the weekend as I upload Blogs on the Weekly High Five, Madikwe Gardens and the Banded Mongoose.

As always I look forward to hearing from you!



AmandaLii said...

Wow, Gerry! You are so lucky to have "participated" in the Wild Dog adventure. You have a new title: "Food Delivery"! I love the black and white photo best.

p.s. Did you get the link for the video about AWD?

Photo-Africa said...

Was a helluva morning. I reckon with your passion for Wild Dogs you would have loved it!!

I got the link, thanks!! Loved the song!! Will be adding it to Photo-Africa when I get back to Johannesburg as the internet connection is just way to slow here in the bush!!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Oh wow!!! I love these dogs! They're so beautiful and your pictures are wonderful. I was lucky enough to see one at Kruger Park at dawn one morning while on my way to take a bush walk outside of Skukuza. It was an awesome sighting and one I will NEVER forget!!!