One of our new Eselenkei Lion Guardians Melita called us with some very exciting news a few days ago. He reported seeing tracks of wild dogs in his area during his daily monitoring duties! Unfortunately we haven’t got any photos of these dogs yet, but the ones below were photographed in Laikipia.
I went out to verify that these really were the tracks of wild dogs and discovered that indeed they were! It was with excitement and surprise that very early the next morning back at camp I heard a cry of a kudu near my tent. I woke up to find out what was happening, only to be confronted and barked at by 2 white tailed African wild dogs!
I immediately summoned Lenkai, one of our research assistants and together we followed the tracks of the 2 wild dogs. We discovered that the 2 were part of a pack of 16 that were roaming within Selenkay Conservancy. Filled with the excitement of coming into close proximity with one of the most endangered species in the country, we decided to follow their tracks. Their tracks, comparable only to that of a large domestic dog, have roughly triangular main pads, blunt claws and four toe imprints, but are longer and thinner than the domestic dog.
From looking at the tracks we were able to work out the story of what had happened the previous night. The dogs had come across the dry river bed, and targeted a big male kudu, chasing it until it was exhausted and eventually tearing it apart. We couldn’t believe it had happened so close to our camp!
The population of African wild dog [Lycaon pictus] is declining rapidly. In fact, the species is categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red list on the basis of small population size and continuous decline. We are so excited that these endangered carnivores are now on our ranch, and we can’t wait to hear and see more from them. We really hope they stay in the area!