Wild dog encounters are always special on any safari. Two sightings on this recent trip to Botswana included a pack of 17 dogs feeding on an impala that they’d recently killed. Even more interesting was the single female wild dog at Mombo that has adopted a pair of black-backed jackals as her pack, and is helping to rear the pups. It just shows you that no matter how long you spend in the bush, there will always be a surprise. Waiting at the jackal den at Mombo, a wild dog lying on one side, two adult jackals on the other, 3 jackal pups emerging from the den and hyenas scattered around made for a interesting mix to say the least!

Recently there’s been a lot of interest around the single female wild dog at Mombo. She has defied logic, adopting a pair of black-backed jackals as her pack and is now actively helping to rear the new litter of jackal pups. Several aspects of this are amazing to me. Firstly, for those familiar with the Mombo area, you’ll know that the predator density is extremely high. This in itself makes life as a wild dog – especially a single wild dog – very difficult indeed.

Usually in a case of a single wild dog, they would be pressured by the other predators to move away into a less densely populated area. They would also typically seek out their own kind and relocate their home range. In this female’s case, she’s actually formed a pack with a different species. It’s hard to say exactly why she has done this, and remarkable that she continues to survive, hunt and provide for others in an area that is literally teeming with a range of predators.