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Travel to Zimbabwe: watch African wild dogs with researchers

Wild dog puppies playing

Wild dog puppies playing

Good day,

my name is Rosemary. I am the wildlife biologist in charge of the  Lowveld Wild Dog Project in the Savé Valley Conservancy in south-eastern Zimbabwe. The trackers Rueben Bote and Misheck Matari are very important members of our team. After spending my youth in Zimbabwe, I worked in Botswana and Kenya for six years. Now I am back in Zimbabwe working for the African Wildlife Conservation Fund. My purpose is to contribute to the conservation of the highly endangered African Wild Dog while learning more about this  amazingly enigmatic species.

Dr. Rosemary Groom tracking Wild dogs with radio collars

Dr. Rosemary Groom tracking Wild dogs with radio collars

Rueben Bote (left) - Misheck Matari (right) with sedated Wild dog

Rueben Bote (left) – Misheck Matari (right) with sedated Wild dog

In 2004, the Savé Valley Conservancy hosted the highest density of endangered African Wild Dogs anywhere in the world.  Although numbers have since declined slightly, the conservancy still provides one of the key strongholds for this charismatic species.  A long-term wild dog conservation project, the Lowveld Wild Dog Project, has been operating in the conservancy since 1996 and closely follows the history of the nine different packs, several of which are radio-collared to enable us to find them frequently.  The denning season – a three month period when the dogs produce a litter of 4-14 pups – provides an excellent opportunity to observe the packs, including the new (and very playful) pups.  As a wildlife experience, this is unbeatable!

Wild dog puppies playing

Wild dog puppies playing

Wild dog puppies playing

Wild dog puppies playing

One of the most special packs currently numbers 42 individuals!  This large pack has produced two litters for both the previous two years and has done a great job of raising the pups, making the pack by far the largest in south-east Zimbabwe.  It’s quite a sight to see such a bunch of carnivores, and such a privilege given how endangered they are.  Watching this pack at the den is especially rewarding; the interactions between the older and younger pups as well as the yearlings are fascinating.

Large & small Wild dog pups together

Large & small Wild dog pups together

The good news is that the wild dog project team are happy to accompany visitors to the conservancy on a guided visit to one of the wild dog dens, allowing guests to experience the breathtaking encounter for themselves. Come and join the wild dog experts for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, contact Daktari Safaris for further information and bookings.

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Sabine Gebele

Seit ich als Kind, mit etwa 7 Jahren, die ersten Tierfilme auf dem schwarz-weißen Fernseher ansehen durfte, war mir klar, daß ich eigentlich nach Afrika gehöre. Je mehr Filme ich ansah, im Scheidersitz auf dem Teppich, Rücken an das Sofa gelehnt, desto sicherer war ich. Meine Helden waren Bernhard Grzimek, Jacques Cousteau und Gerald Durrell. Seit 1988 reise ich regelmäßig nach Afrika, habe Südafrika, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Simbabwe, Sambia, Tansania, Kenia und Ghana bereist. So wunderschön diese Länder alle sind, so ist meiner Meinung nach keines mit Simbabwe vergleichbar. Ich habe mich in das Land verliebt, als ich zum Erstenmal dort war, es dauerte keine fünf Minuten! Seit 1996 arbeite ich als Reiseveranstalter und teile meine Begeisterung mit meinen Gästen. Am liebsten bin ich tief im Busch zu Fuß auf Safari, habe aber auch sehr viel Freude am Reisen mit allen anderen Mitteln, seien es Flugzeuge, Geländewagen, Mountainbikes oder Pferde.

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