Written by: Simon Cousins
While guiding a safari in the Luangwa Valley with Robin Pope Safaris I found a pack of six wild dogs sitting in the grass on the side of the road. They were fairly skinny so I told the guests that if we stayed with them I was certain they would attempt to hunt.
A few moments later a small herd of elephants came through the bush and chased the dogs from their resting place. After a few stretches and some play fighting, they were off down the road. The hunt was on.
We followed the dogs for over an hour. First they had a go at two large warthogs. However, the warthogs were having none of this and saw the dogs off with ease. They then headed through areas that are usually teaming with impala, but there were no impala to be seen. They then attempted to look for bushbuck in thicker vegetation – a hunting method that required one dog to go into the dense thickets and try to find something to flush out towards the waiting packed. However, no more luck was had.
Coming to another fairly large open area they were in luck and took off after a large herd of impala. The impala ran in all directions, trying to escape the dogs and we followed where we could. Suddenly the pack burst through a gap in the bush, hot on the heels of a female impala. The impala, in a panicked attempt to escape the dogs, jumped into a thicket, bleating loudly. As the impala exited the thicket on the other side, the dogs took it down.
The panicked bleating of the impala roused the attention of a male leopard that came out to see if he could get a free meal.
The leopard looked on with interest at the feeding frenzy until one of the dogs noticed the intruder and took exception to his presence!
Alerting the rest of the pack, a short standoff took place before the leopard realised that this was not a fight he could win and turned tail!
The dogs pursued, with a few well aimed nips to the leopard’s rear before it sought the safety of a nearby tree.
Satisfied with their success, the wild dogs returned to their meal.