On the 6th of September at 10am in the morning wilddogs were seen hunting around Tumaren Camp. A walking safari nearby were able to see the dogs briefly as they tore off after some Impala. This is not an uncommon observation on our trips and we see wilddogs often hunting in the area. While some lodges in Kenya use radio telemetry to find their wilddogs, we prefer old school tracking and spotting to the ‘canned hunt’ approach. It was thrilling then to see that our pack had some very new pups with them as well.
Kechine, one of our lead rangers continued to follow the wilddogs as they descended toward one of our dams. In thick bush he was able to catch up with the dogs just as they met with an adult lioness. There was a standoff just before the Lioness lunged and was able to grab one of the new pups. She promptly killed the dog while the rest of the pack circled in obvious concern and stress. A rather sad day for our dogs but a very interesting interaction that Kechine (also pictured below) was able to observe and document on his new Nikon camera.
The exploitation of African Sandlewood (Osyris lanceolata) has become a serious issue in recent years. In our area smuggling Sandlewood has become a big business with many chiefs other politicians involved.
Here is a photo of a plant i encountered on a recent walking safari:
De Braza Monkeys were thought to only exist west of the Rift Valley till Helen Dufresne discovered them living in the Mathew’s Range. Overnight the population of this Endangered Primate quadrupled within Kenya (or something thereabouts – i can’t remember exactly the numbers). Check out these pictures from our last walking safari there:
30 Wilddog at Tumaren yesterday drinking water about our river camp! I sent the pictures to the Laikipia Wilddog Project with two close ups of 2 of their collared animals. Kayna from the LWP was able to confirm the identity of both dogs based on markings, one of which was the alpha male. This particular pack also is one that typically spends more time north of here and it was informative for Kayna to know that they sometimes also frequent our area. Now she says that when she cant get a signal during their tracking flights that they will remember to cover our area as well to see if they are in our neck of the woods. Such incredible animals.
On Nov. 13 th while on safari on the Ewaso Nyiro river we ran into 21 WildDogs hunting. They were in the process of harassing a group of four Waterbuck that seemed very frightened and stressed. The Waterbucks would run and then turn to face the dogs. The dogs would then back down and look for another opportunity. At one point a Dikdik sprang from a bush behind the dogs and 4 engaged it in chase. Luckily for Mr. Dikdik he made a safe escape. Meanwhile several dogs kept returning to a certain patch of bush. As we watched the area with our binoculars we realized that they were eating and that they had a kill. When 2 young dogs began playing with a leg we decided that it was a young Waterbuck that they had taken. Very exciting and great to be able to watch the dogs for a good half hour as they played and chased each other.