A pack of five male wild dogs has been spotted in the Mombo area in the past few days. It is believed that they have come from the south of Chiefs Island. The dogs are estimated to be around 2 ½ years old, judging by their playful antics and uncertainty, while their excitement at seeing prey rivals that of a kid in a candy shop! It is common for dogs of this age to break away from their packs to form a new pack of their own and these energetic males are causing havoc with the lechwe and impala herds near Mombo Camp. They even decided to stir with a large female elephant which was until then, peacefully feeding with her herd.
The question being asked is what would happen if they met up with Solo, the lone female wild dog/ jackal pup-sitter who has been marking her territory in this very area on her own for the past four years? There have been times when other packs would come into the area and she would ‘go to ground’, keeping a safe distance between her and her fellow species. While most romantics struggle to see why, it is in fact very wise; if the pack were to encounter her it is most likely the alpha female would not take kindly to the presence of another dominant female wild dog and would surely have the backing of her pack.
However, with the new pack on the scene comprising only males, it is difficult to speculate what the relationship could be if they were to meet each other. Would the youngsters’ exuberance be overbearing for the much older Solo? Would her tendency to protect her jackal packs be too much for the males to understand or would her pack instinct kick in and the chance to breed be the deciding factor, resulting in her joining the males. This in itself then opens up the question, would they stay in the area or move further afield?
Something we should all be asking is what would the jackal pack think of all of this and would they then think they had five more parental figures and more meals on the way?
Of course, the safe bet is that the males will keep running, and move back south again, leaving Solo to her happy existence with her jackals, and this truly amazing story will continue in the same manner for a little longer.
Fast-forward 24 hours and Solo is seen hunting near the hyaena den. After a few half-hearted and failed attempts, she trots back to an open area and flops down as the sun sets. We thought she was settling in a random area for the night but on closer inspection, as we shared a few moments in her company, we realised that there was an adult black-backed jackal nearby. We drove on a little further and some 20 feet (about 6 or so metres) from Solo were three jackal pups, no more than a month old! Unfortunately the light had gone and we could just make out their chubby bellies and pointed features. We will be out to get pictures and updated info ASAP!