Great News for the Wild Dogs of Mana Pools!
The owner of Bushlife Safaris, Nick Murray has been following and recording the numbers of wild dogs in Mana Pools for many years. In the last few months, he is happy to report seeing two new wild dogs pack in Mana Pools.
In June, Nick first saw the Dandawa pack. They were seen on the Rukomechi River about 10km south of the Zambezi River and have 13 painted wolves in the pack. Intepe (Lilly) is the alpha female. Happily, this pack was sighted again in September with 19 wild dogs in all including 6 pups in the western part of Mana Pools.
We can also report that we have a new pack of 7 wild dogs, called the Chavava pack, in Mana Pools. It appears that they have come from the Nyakasanga area. There is no obvious alpha pair and no sign of a recently suckled female, and no pups. We think that this is a dispersal group from a larger pack that probably has pups and caused this group to disperse. Great news again as the parent pack is hopefully of a large enough number to cause this dispersal.
The natural population of dogs in the mana flood plain area now includes the Rukomechi pack of 4 adults (not sure how many pups this season), the Chavava pack of 7, The Nyakasanga pack of 15, the Ilala pack of 10. There is also an introduced pack, Mpindo, last record of 12 wild dogs down from 19 – unfortunately, they are not surviving the relocation well as yet.
This is just the floodplain area which consists of 10% of Mana Pools. There are several packs in land occupying the remaining 2000km2 of Mana Pools, of which sightings are hard to come by. This is great news for the National Parks new initiative – Zambezi Valley Carnivore Project whereby a network of collared animals is being established to enhance research possibilities for Parks and local Universities.