The Illustrated African Wild Dog Story

As you know if you've been following the blog, 1/2 the folks who went to Kenya continued on to Botswana. We all knew that seeing Wild Dogs wasn't a guarantee, but we had high hopes because we were going where and when our chances were highest. (And no, in response to one comment, there are no [African] Wild Dogs in the states, we're talking another species here, see photos below.) We stayed at Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta, owned and run by Helene Heldring and David Hamman, and very close to the research station of Tico McNutt, who has been studied AWDs for over twenty years. We knew that he had radio collars on most of the packs in the area, and we knew that it was still denning season, meaning that the adults tended to stay put more than usual. Still, as an experienced naturalist Read More

African Wild Dogs YES!

Back in the Jo'berg airport again, but this time after having spent two days in the Okavango Delta at Chitabe Tent Camp. 1/2 of us arrived 1 1/2 days late, having barely made it when our last flight was delayed and the sun's descent meant we might not be able to take the small plane to the isolated camp: couldn't land after dark. But we squeaked in, blank eyed and exhausted and then spent two days in heaven.  We not only saw AWD's, we were able to be with Tico when he radio collared "Jones," the dominant breeding male of a pack about two 1/2 hours away from the camp. The group that arrived on time spent 5 hours one afternoon/evening and 14 hours with  Tico and his radio transmitter trying to find the pack, which they found late the afternoon the rest of us arrived. We left early the next Read More

Commuter Dogs, Brilliant Crows

An alert reader sent in a link to a story about 'village' dogs in Russia who have figured out how to forage for food in an urban setting. The dogs actually hop onto trains that take them into the city where there is a great deal of food. But they don't just forage in garbage pails, their strategies are far more sophisticated. There are reports of dogs sneaking up behind people eating and barking loud enough to startle the person into dropping their food. They schmooze up to children, rest their heads on the leg and look--well, you know--all soft and pleading and get fed snacks from the kids. Reportedly they have learned to use the traffic lights to cross the road safely and it is said they that know what stops to get off on and even to alert one another when the stop is coming up. I'm a Read More