A New Litter for the Nyakasanga Pack
It has been an eventful year for the Nyakasanga painted wolf pack of Mana Pools, whose story was shared around the world in the BBC Dynasties Painted Wolf episode. The alpha female, Blacktip, died earlier this year which left a gap in the pack. We had thought the pack might disperse or join with another pack as Jiani was the alpha male and hence father of all the females in the pack. However this was not the case as Blacktip’s daugher, Violet succeeded her as the alpha female. Jiani did mate with Violet, but he was a very old painted wolf – nearly 11 years – so was killed by lions shortly afterwards. We wondered whether their couplation would result in a litter for Violet, and whether the offspring – if any – would be healthy or show signs of in-breeding. We were delighted when we saw that Violet was indeed pregnant, and on the 13th July she made her den to have her puppies. She chose the same den that Blacktip, her mother, had used to have her puppies. This carries on the unique trait of Tait to use the same den – seen first by Tait, then Blacktip and now grand-daughter Violet.
Violet was rarely seen during the first 4 -5 weeks as she looked after her pups, and kept them underground. We gave her plenty of space and did not disturb the new family during this critial period. The rest of the pack came to feed Violet, as she was lactating too heavily to join the hunts – which is normal for pack behaviour, always looking after all of their members. The good news is that we have now seen 5 healthy new painted wolves – a wonderful addition to the Nyakasanga pack!