This day will be remembered like for always! The first glimpse of 8-9 week old wild dog puppies! What a sight.
When we got to their den, just before 5 am, as every morning, we heard that they were still there. Which was a bit odd as they are usually already out and about. Some started moving so we drove off as well to see what they were going to do. We hadn’t driven that far before we spotted 2 of them, followed by a 3th, followed by …. 4 tiny, absolutely gorgeous little. Puppies, and mum. We were all in awe!! 4 healthy looking pups. As they came running into the road where we were parked they looked at us, stopped, had a look on their fact…ohoh, what’s this? But the adult dogs were very relaxed and ‘told’ them we were OK. They were, as expected, a bit hesitant but that soon wore off. Off into the bushes they went again.
We decided to stay put to see what they were going to do. Sure enough, they came back. With an even bigger surprise. This time around 5 puppies popped their heads out of the bushes. You could feel the joy and excitement in our bakkie. This is a sighting never to be forgotten!!
All 9 dogs stayed put for a while before taking off again.
We followed them with our telemetric antenna and were able to keep up with them. Unbelievable the stamina these little youngsters have! So small, yet so able to walk and run!
As they went on, so did we. They were headed towards the water and sure be, there they came out of the bushes again. The adult males were very weary, looking around. We thought they were waiting for the female and her cubs (in the meantime I made use of the opportunity to take some awesome (even if I do say so myself) pictures of the dogs in the morning sunlight.
As we were looking at them, all of a sudden, we saw the youngsters already on the other side of the road. Most likely they had been resting their little legs behind a fallen tree. Off they went again.
Again, it was easy enough for us to follow them, without bothering them of course.
There was a bit of a hill for them to get down of and what a sight that was. The adult males had already come down and mum came down, followed by her 5 tiny cubs. All oh’s and ah’s in the bakkie. At one point one pup was crying out for the others as it seemed scared to move on any further. At that time all the others started calling out for it as to say, come on, it’s OK, you can do it. I am telling you, NOT a dry eye in the house – our bakkie. I could hardly take a proper picture as my shoulders were shaking because of happy tears. THIS is the moment I will never ever forget.
It’s amazing to see how these animals look out for each other. How much care and commitment they have towards their pack members / family members. They must have one hell of a communication line between them.
This is what I love about them and what I am intrigued with: their bond, their care and their interactions with each other.
If you thought their journey had come to an end here, you are wrong! It had only just begun. By the time they reached their ‘final’ destination of the day, it looked that they had walked over 4km as the crow flies. Meaning, they probably did double that distance. In the meantime, we now know where their new den is situated. I informed how far it was from their old den. As the crow flies (I absolutely love this expression) it was a mere 6,2km!!!! That probably means that they walked about 10km. In awe, hat off, perseverance & stamina for sure. R.E.S.P.E.C.T