Painted Wolves deceived by a young Puku

Kaingo Camp and Mwamba Bushcamp are blessed to be in an area where Lion and Leopard sightings are usually plentiful. So when our Shenton Safaris’ guides locate Painted Wolves (Lycaon pictus), greater than normal excitement is almost palpable. Upon leaving Mwamba Bushcamp on an early morning drive, Sylvester and his guests crested a rise and were amazed to see 6 Wild Dogs on the road in front of them. The 4 adults and 2 yearlings were quite obviously on the hunt as they quartered back and forth, looking for a young female Puku (Kobus vardonii)  that they had spotted moments before.

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They gathered excitedly around a fallen tree that lay over a pool in the Mwamba riverbed. We all spotted her at the same time, her head peeking from beneath the branches and then her back was visible. The clever young Puku had used all her wiles to escape becoming the Dogs next meal by using escape and evasion tactics  that are often employed by the larger members of the Kobus family, the Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus). Waterbuck are often seen using water to escape the clutches of Lion, perhaps lending truth to the Makushu (Okavango Delta) peoples’ fable that Crocodiles do not eat Waterbuck.

The Painted Wolves circled the small waterhole, reluctant to get wet in such a deep pool and eventually trotted off in search of easier pickings. Minutes after the predators had departed, the Puku stood up, revealing that the pool was merely knee deep! The Dogs could easily have run through the shallow water to her if only they had known. Wow, Mother Nature is amazing.

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