Wild dog vs Crococodile and impala vs Waterbuck vs Baboon!
So, there we were, sitting with a mating pair of lions when that call came over the radio. “Wild dogs”. This peaks any guides interest as they are such a rarity. They always provide great value sightings, let alone it being just a privilege to see them. I was quite a distance away so decided to wait a while and head down that way a bit later. “Wild dogs trying to steal an impala kill from a crocodile”. Wow!!! Decision made. I told the guests, we started the car and we were on our way.
On arrival we were greeted with the familiar yelps and chattering of excited wild dogs. They were surrounding a large dam, and we saw what they were focused on. A half-submerged impala ram, with a crocodile attached to it. By this stage the crocodile had dragged it a way off from the bank, leaving the dogs waiting eagerly for a chance to grab it. Now wild dogs are pretty intelligent, so they weren’t about to go swimming and put themselves in danger to grab a meal. They circled the dam, while the crocodile kept dragging the carcass to the other bank. They came close to grabbing it, but the crocodile was wise enough to keep it out of reach, so if they wanted it, they must come and get it. This is just speculation, but did the croc have enough foresight to try entice the dogs into the water, so it could grab another meal? Whatever the case, the dogs eventually lost interest and settled down on the sand close to the water. At this stage, a large male baboon was watching from a nearby tree. Fully grown and impressive, he started to bark his disapproval of these predators in his domain. Added to this, a herd of waterbuck with a few young calves were on their way to drink.
Pandemonium broke loose! The whole pack switched their focus to the waterbuck calves, and started hunting all around us. They made three attempts at three different calves. Dogs were everywhere, and waterbuck were bolting in all directions. Incredible viewing! We sat in awe at the wildlife spectacle that was unfolding before us.
At this stage, we had completely forgotten about the croc and the impala, but the Large male baboon had not stopped watching the wild dogs. On seeing what was unfolding, he had had enough! He let out a huge bark, and came sprinting through the clearings. I think the dogs were so shocked, they didn’t have a chance to realise what was going on. The baboon had picked his target, and like an epic eternal enemies moment, he started pursuing one of the pack members. We watched as he sprinted with murderous intent the length of the clearing, pursuing a still bewildered wild dog. The rest of the pack were a way off, and I’m sure if they were all there, they would have turned the tables. Wild dogs are extremely quick and nimble, and the baboon could not match his quarry for pace, but did not give up. Another dog appeared and he then chased this pack member back across the clearing, but with the same result. As quickly as it had begun, the whole scene settled. The baboon marched back off to his perch, the wild dogs regrouped, the waterbuck had fled the scene, and the crocodile was still with his carcass oblivious to the happenings around him.
We left the scene awestruck, blown away and in real need of a place to have some coffee and take in what we had witnessed. Just another day in the theater of African wildlife at Singita Sabi Sand.