THE PAINTED DOGS OF MADIKWE in SOUTH AFRICA

Aside from the pleasure of connecting with the charismatic ‘Big Five’ mammals in this vast game reserve of a great many habitat types, there is the thrill and the pleasure of visually engaging with a pack of African Wild Dogs at their denning site to look forward to.

Wild Dog African in Madikwe - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

African Wild Dog in Madikwe - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

These now highly endangered carnivores are related to foxes and jackals and sadly are well down in overall number throughout the sub-region. Direct persecution by man, burgeoning feral dog populations and habitat loss along with a decrease in suitable prey availability in certain localities are largely to blame. Other factors relate to the dogs’ highly complex social and interactive pack system along with increased competition for prey within the predator mix. All of which is taking a steady toll on their numbers. So when next you have the good fortune to encounter a pack while birding the outback spend time admiring their individually distinctive blotchy coat patterns, round ears and demonstrative white tufted tails, as they engage socially with one another and vocalise in twittering notes of shared and frenetic excitement. This in the knowledge that populations are now in serious decline and you are indeed privileged to experience an engagement while populations still remain in well managed wild life conservancies such as Madikwe.

Wild Dog African in Madikwe - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

African Wild Dog in Madikwe - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

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