The Mbungo pack of “Painted Wolves” (as BBC’s David Attenborough and Painted Wolf Wines would call them!)
A den in Deep mopani woodland on senuko- camera traps have shown a pair of lions investigating and digging at the den entrance. I am in dread that they may have excavated the babies….
yay! When I visit the den north of Senuko Lodge, I spot about 10 pups – 9th June ay 5 pm -I estimate 5/6 weeks old -the alpha female refusing to suckle them with warning growls -pack seemed intact.
12th June 5 pm -2 whitebacked vultures flew from trees in the den area, as I approached – two pups seen at den entrance – one with « cabbage ears » chewing a lump of gristle and a dark male dog (Jupiter- he who we took a horrible snare off the year before? Or alpha male?) on guard- ragged right ear and tattered mostly black tail …brown strip over his rump.
Dusk falling, a hooded vulture lands clumsily in a tree over the den and at 5,30 pm I hear faint twittering briefly in the mopani woodland -other dogs are out there, but the guard dog does not respond.
A few days later I return to the den and am astounded, 13 fabulous pups bounce all over the den mound and come close to stare at me!
I am in heaven, sketching and watching over the weeks, as they grow and thrive.
The den is a safe haven when other predators threaten
And the Alpha female is not too interested in hanging around for long each time she has to suckle 13 hungry little mouths!
Not many young things have the big-eared impossible cuteness of wild dog pups!
I will NEVER tire of painting these little beings…