Jambo rafiki! 🙂
Just got an incredible email the other day from Uwe Skrzypczak, a professional wildlife photographer currently spending some time in the Serengeti National Park! I am so excited to share with you what he’s experienced lately. Here’s what he has to say:
On Friday, we had followed the gnu herds in vain (for over 6 hours) and were about to take a meal when our Driver guide stormed through the Ndutu Lodge restaurant. He said that a half hour ago 7 wild dogs were sighted only 3 kilometers away, on the way to Lake Masek. African wild dogs have been regarded as extinct in the Serengeti for over 20 years, therefore we firstly didn’t take the info seriously at all. I said to him: ‘tourists must have mixed up the Bat-eared fox with wild dogs’. Nevertheless, we jumped into our jeep and after 5 minutes had the animals in front of the camera. Photographers get such a stroke of luck only once in a lifetime, and this was definitely one of those moments!
What a lucky bugger, believe it or not but painted dogs are one of the rare animals I am yet to have encountered in the wild (the zoo simply doesn’t count). Perhaps I’ll have to travel with him next time I venture on an African safari! 😉
The following is a series of shots he took while on the scene. I’ve also included key wild dog facts for those of you who might be unfamiliar with this endangered species.
Scientific name: Lycaon pictus.
General particularities: Outstanding hunters, with a success rate of about 85 percent. They are often known as “killers in carnival suits”. 🙂
Shoulder Height: 65 cm; Mass: 24-30 kg; Gestation: 69-70 days.
Social structure: While 5-20 individuals is usually the norm, they can sometimes be observed in packs in excess of 30-40 members.
Diet: Wild dogs feed on a wide variety of different animals, from small antelopes to larger prey (including domestic livestock).
Water-dependent? African wild dogs drink regularly although they may go without water for long periods of time.
Noise: Produces a clicking sound and has a deep, hoarse bark.
Speed: African hunting dogs are swift runners, and can maintain speeds of around 45 km per hour for almost 5 km.