For a long time, wild dogs were considered vermin. Eradication programs drove them to the brink of extinction. No wild dogs had been sighted in Tsavo West National Park for the past 20 years or so. But now they are back. With protection, we hope they will thrive.
These stories were submitted by our team on the ground in Africa,
working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service, our partner in Tsavo
West National Park. For more information on the International Fund
for Animal Welfare's work in Tsavo, please visit www.ifaw.org
But now they are back. With protection, we hope they will thrive.
In the past, wild dog packs were large. At times, aggregations of many hundreds were recorded. Nowadays, packs usually consist of only about six adult males and four adult females.
Their favorite prey species are medium-sized antelopes, no larger than twice their own body weight. As specialized pack hunters, they prefer open country in which they can run down their prey, taking turns in a fast chase to rip and tear at their prey until it tires enough to be caught and killed.
Sightings of wild dogs have always been recorded in the northern area of Tsavo East National Park along the seasonal Tiva River, but not in the south, and none within Tsavo West National Park.
However, in the last three years, at least two different packs of wild dog have been seen around the Ngulia Mountains within Tsavo West. Each pack is no larger than ten animals including sub-adults, but there is no doubt they have returned.
Since Tsavo West borders Tanzania -- Mkomazi Game Reserve in particular -- and is to some extent linked to the northern area of Tsavo East, there are hopes the Tsavo West wild dog population will be able to interact with the packs from Mkomazi and the Tiva River and increase their population once again.