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Ulusaba: Painted Wolves and their puppies

Puppy alert!
Here at Ulusaba, we’re lucky enough to see Painted Wolves (also known as African Wild Dogs) from time to time and recently we witnessed some new arrivals. The litter of puppies are about 4 weeks old now and have begun emerging from their nearby den.

Some of our Ulusaba guests have been lucky enough to catch glimpses of these very endangered species.

These incredible animals live in packs and enjoy roaming Africa’s savannahs with plenty of open plains and sparse woodlands.

With a strict hierarchy, most packs are led by an alpha breeding pair who oversee the group. There’s also a strong family bond too and when the new pups are born, the pack, even the alpha’s, will prioritise the new puppies to ensure they are well fed and trained to hunt. Even when a dog becomes ill, injured or elderly, the rest of the pack will care for and feed them.

Due to the large territories they cover their habitat is often threatened by humans and if the pack expands and moves into unprotected areas, they will often be killed by farmers trying to protect their livestock. There is also the threat of poaching and diseases and not forgetting other predators such as lions and hyenas, who given the chance would kill wild dogs simply to reduce the competition.

The best chance these incredible, yet misunderstood, animals have is to live in large protected areas, such as the Sabi Sand reserve where Ulusaba is as it consists of around 2.5 million hectares of space for them to hunt and roam.

Whenever they in our area the excitement on game drive goes to another level and trying to follow them when they are on the move or hunting is a fun challenge for our Rangers and Trackers who try to keep up with them!

Every time we get to see them is a privilege, which is why our Ulusaba Conservation team work alongside local groups to prevent the decline of African Painted Wolves through active work in the bush as well as through education and studies of their behaviour.