When lions and wild dogs meet it often ends badly for the much smaller carnivores and even big packs will do their best to get out of the way of lions. This time though the wild dogs decided to fight back!
Guide OD from Chitabe camp was out with guests on an early morning safari following a pack of wild dogs. He caught up with them just as they managed to bring down an impala. The pack fed well and the sub-adults thereafter began chasing one another around. The commotion did not go unnoticed however and before long there was a lioness on the scene. She stalked her way towards the pack and eventually gave chase right across a fairly open area and managed to catch one of the youngsters in the process.
The moment the lioness first ran in to attack
The lioness takes on one of the attacking males. The wild dog manages to escape a potentially fatal blow.
You would think the much smaller wild dogs would have retreated but this was not the case at all and they fought back viciously in an attempt to save their lost pack member.
A close call as a wild dog escapes teeth and claws!
The whole pack turned on the lioness and an incredible fight broke out…speaking to OD about the incident his words were, “You could not believe the noise…the constant yelping and barking of the wild dogs on attack was only interrupted by the defensive growls and roars of the lioness.”
The pack managed to get the lioness on the back foot and used their numbers to launch a successful attack.
The wild dogs attack from all angles confusing the lioness and preventing her from singling any individual out.
During this time multiple blows were exchanged and you could see a couple of the dogs dripping with blood after having been swiped by the lioness. This didn’t stop them however and they continued to attack the lion forcing her to retreat. Things would subside for a few seconds and then the pack would launch another attack. The dogs managed to beat up the lioness a bit but her injuries were merely superficial. There is no doubt that she will think twice should before taking on her new enemy in future!
The fight continues!
Lots of roars could be heard from the lioness
Africa’s wild dogs remain severely endangered in parts of this great continent, but in places like Botswana’s Okavango Delta, there is currently a very healthy population. Chitabe has a great representation of many of Africa’s famed big mammals and has to be one of the best places for large predator viewing with good chances of seeing wild dog. This pack of wild dogs has made the Chitabe area the core of its territory; in 2014 the pack numbered only four: one adult female and three adult males. In May 2014 they had 13 pups of which seven amazingly survived to the next denning season. In May 2015 we saw at least 12 new pups bringing the number to 22 after a natural death of one of the founding males. This shows just how quickly packs can grow. At present the pack stands at 19 after further natural mortalities that include this one.
This cropped images shows a wild dog getting a good bite at the lioness
Surrounded the lioness has to brace herself for another attack
The aftermath: the many bite marks on the lioness
The lioness forms part of the Tsame Pride. She and her sister have five surviving cubs from their last litters – three males and two females. They have all left their natal pride as a group, with the young females doing this too. This is possibly because new males to the area may have caused them to split with their brothers as they were still too young to mate and may have risked being killed. As a result the older lionesses sometimes move around on their own – especially when mating – as was the case here. Shortly after killing the wild dog pup she moved off with another male that approached the area.
Sightings like this are so rare to witness let alone photograph. I’d like to thank OD for sharing his images with us all.
Written by Nick Proust, Bush 24
Photographed by OD, Wilderness Safaris Guide – Chitabe Camp