a pack of wild dogs consists of an intimate unit a coalition guided by the strength and courage of the ludus the alpha female and her mate a specialized camera placed on one of the sisters uncovers the dog’s personal world and their intricate Society [Music] the camera reveals the dogs most intimate moments but above all it exposes how the dogs bite back a distressing whimper fills the winter air making this African day more unsettling than most the calls of pain haunt the members of this pack of wild dogs the alpha male seems more concerned than the other dogs his mate the alpha female wrenched by agonizing cries.
crawled into a burrow in desperation she chews a stone the cramps get stronger and pain intensifies with each contraction the cries carried to the outside but a family can do nothing to help her her mate seems more anxious than the others probably because the bond between them is stronger than between the other dogs but giving birth is a rights only bestowed upon the alpha female the strongest of the females of the pack a privilege and a trial she endures on her own perhaps they sense what pain their sister indoors a pain that the females will probably never experience unless they take over the leadership of this pack or leave to form their own pack but how could animals.
possibly feel the anguish could the attention they display towards each other be testimony to their highly developed social system one of the strongest and deepest bonds in the African natural world this makes the birth of a new generation one of the most important events of their lives in her isolated world the alpha female starts to give birth taking on the role of mother midwife and nurse she Labor’s through delivery in wild dog society where .
mortality reduces life expectancy to no longer than 10 years the pack expects the female leader to create a new generation every year a new division for the squad using her sharp teeth she bites through the umbilical cord then she chews open the amniotic sac around each pup who eats it the nutritious sack supplements her body’s needs during this time of endurance hour after hour through pain and exhaustion.
the alpha female gently tends to each part they are the future soldiers of the pack it is in her interest to ensure their best upbringing more than half of these pups may not reach adulthood but of those that will one could become the Future leader of the pack the birthing process could take the whole day and even more depending on the size of her litter she could give birth to as many as 21 pups an exorbitant amount considering a wild dog mother’s average weight of only 25 kilograms at last the most agonizing part of an alpha females term of motherhood comes to an end protected within the confines of her earthly fortress she finally takes a well-deserved rest she chose this tent among several other.
possible sites scattered within a packs home range for most of the year he helped repair leave their packs through a vast expanse of land covering more than 450 square kilometers in the greater Kruger area a conservation region of South Africa and one of the last remaining strongholds for wild dogs the most endangered carnivore in Africa after the Ethiopian wolf considered by many to be vermin worthy only of extermination fortunately here these remarkable dogs lead a relatively sheltered life under the protection of South African national parks and the owners of the private game reserves a life that for the moment revolves entirely around the den that the alpha female chose to give birth but.
remaining in one position exposes them to the risk of attacks by their natural enemies the dogs could be judged as invaders from other predators territories predators more powerful and dangerous a threat to the adult dogs lives and in particular a menace to their pups lions do not tolerate the presence of other carnivores killing them on site for the wild dogs Lions represent their most fearsome opponents leopards seem to underplay their relations with wild dogs although they would never take on a whole pack they might steal in and kill one or two members especially pups if they were certain to get away unharmed but today the presence of the wild dogs does not concern this pair in the least the female came into East hrus and she selected a suitable man as soon as their few days of mating end they part ways and returned to their solitary lives of the three predators that threatened the existence of wild dogs the hyenas have a life most similar to that of the pack this could be the reason for each other’s intolerance they even take up residence in the same type of den often keeping their young in abandoned aardvark holes however the hyena Cubs stand a better chance of making it to adulthood than the wild dog pups because they use a den.
for a much longer period the wild dog pups start living with the pack at 3 months while the hyena Cubs live by the den for up to 18 months juveniles and Cubs of different mothers share the den and relative harmony usually a mother will produce two cubs but during the first days of their lives the strongest will probably kill the other now at two months the surviving cub weights of the den alone while a clan goes out foraging she seems to meet less babysitting for the wild dog pups but then an only cub is easier to take care of than a squad of ten or so puppies for now the wild dog pups are easy to handle at three days old they have not yet climbed out of the den but their mother needs a break from his confines and possibly she needs a breath of fresh air too she leaves the puppies to sleep on although at this stage they can hardly keep their eyes open anyway wild dog social behavior dictates that subordinates frequently greet and submit to their leaders and the alpha female has been cooped up for long enough to warrant a good show of respect after all she is the mother of the packs new precious generation with motherhood comes another set of responsibilities being the only lactating female for a bundle of newborns she needs to play nursemaid babysitter when the rest of the pack go on a hunt and guard protecting the den and her pups from trespassers and possible dangers as soon as the ceremonial .
greeting is over the alpha male moves off one last glance at his mate who stays behind and the pack follows him on the trot [Music] once the dogs decide to hunt they move fast they can easily cover 10 to 20 kilometers in a matter of hours they spot some prey and the dogs lower their ears into hunting position they charge and disperse each dog hunting for itself [Music] as soon as one pulls down an animal the dogs regroup to gorge [Music] they tear and gulp down whole pieces of meat eating fast to finish the kill before any other predator arrives to confiscate their trophy in the mayhem of the hunt one of the pack lost his way he calls out immediately a call which he emits close to the ground so that it carries for several kilometres for the bush a perfect communication system which allows the others to locate his position he hasn’t strayed very far and the other dogs hear him at once using this.
simple yet effective communication system the pack functions as a perfect whole a successful unit his brothers call back they easily find each other reunite with a quick greeting the usual procedure that rules wild dog interaction and trot back towards the den base camp the social bonds between pack members ensure their loyalty towards each other this way a stray dog will be found an injured one cared for and a hungry one fed even if it didn’t participate in the hunt back at the den the alpha female waits patiently for her mates and Families return in typical wild dog spirit their arrival is an exciting occasion first greeting the alpha female feeding her comes next she eats the regurgitated food with
enough nourishment to sustain her the alpha female returns into the den to feed her litter for the first few days of their lives the puppies alternate between sleeping and eating within the confines of their quarters as soon as their mother wakes them they look for her teats while they remain in the den she spends most of her time with them protected by their underground fortress safe from the dangers lurking in the African bush on the surface the rest of her pack settled down around the den their ears poised like radar dishes to detect any unusual sounds even in their sleep their senses remain alert they may slow down to rest at night but they can never drop their guard because their biggest enemies are creatures of the night so silent that the dogs need to tune into the most imperceptible sounds to detect them [Music] the leopard supreme master of silence she prefers to go about quietly not advertising her presence or intentions yet this evening her claws tearing into bark slash into the night’s calm the last meal seems to have given her indigestion to cleanse her stomach she chews on some coarse grass a remedy used by many felines one of the sub-adults of the hyena clan explores a little further than usual his powerful sense of smell picks up an odor that he cannot resist or so he thinks his inexperience allows him to wander too close to the leopard the spotted cat does not take his approach to amicably
sometimes following one’s nose is not worth the trouble the night’s thin air carries the scuffle of the brief face-off the lions react immediately if sound defines ownership of this acre of Africa clearly the lions dominate the wild dogs respond only with a twitch of their ears in this situation lying low is the best option for anonymity in any case the pups safe hideaway has an entrance too small to fit a lion for the first few weeks of their lives the young ones remain untouchable stowed away underground three weeks have passed since the puppy’s birth and the alpha female is the only dog that has seen or tended to them up to now she has been the key to their survival the rest of the pack members have only heard their lively whimpers emanating from the dark den but today things will change the puppies are ready to be introduced to their older siblings their arms and uncles and of course to dad one call and they understand exactly what mom implies finally out they take their first steps into a world so much brighter than their birth den for the members of the pack the introduction of the pups is an important occasion for the alpha female life gets a little easier now her tasks of motherhood will be shared by the older generation of puppies and by her sisters through constant interaction.
with their parents and other dogs the puppies will master the communication skills and unique protocol needed to belong to this elite squad the area around the den presents the perfect training ground to develop the talents required to survive on a top African battlefield individual characters start to emerge surprisingly even at this young age some already show leadership qualities the merits they’ll need to become the future leaders of their own pack [Music] soon the alpha female rounds up her litter there is still one thing that no one else in the pack can helpful suckling feeding calms the pups and their father takes this opportunity to check up on them and their mother touching is an important part of communication between the dogs a silent code that only the leaders can understand the pack assembled a ritual greeting then they move off the alpha female stays behind she’s the designated guard for the day and with a whole heap of puppies out in the open and more vulnerable than they’ve ever been she needs to be very vigilant the slightest unusual noise makes a sound the signal and the puppies scamper down the hall false alarm but at least the little ones are safely stowed away all their mother has to do now is keep out of sight until the pack returns 20 kilometers away the pack killed an Impala when it comes to hunting the wild dogs hold the highest success rate of all African.
carnivores in this area 60% of their hunts end in a kill the Kamera around the females neck shows how the packs routine is played out with military precision eat as fast as possible and then race back to base camp as usual their arrival at the den demands a strict ritual first greet those who stayed behind to babysit in this case their leading female face licking and gentle whimpers form part of the essential vocabulary of the wild dog society then call the puppies and all the dogs face appears at the entrance of the den and they know that they’ve been summonsed out at three weeks the puppies start to eat solids and the hunters oblige by regurgitating meat which they swallowed at the kill this is the most efficient way of carrying a carcass of a large tracts of land and at the same time avoiding the clarity of their food by scavengers and predators for the puppies the transition between the liquid and solid diet lasts no longer than three weeks from their first bite they learn to chew and tear a chunks of real meat this is no baby food .
but the first taste of meat does not go down well for all on the contrary others can’t get enough and beg the adults for more an enthusiastic click on the lips stimulates the adults to regurgitate some more food and the puppies learn very quickly how to get their own way time and time again a tough piece of sinew is not as good as the Filat especially when biting through it with milk teeth the puppies gorge but the alpha female also needs to eat she scrounges around on the ground among the puppies for a ration shearing does not seem to be part of the puppies new habits she eventually takes food out of a puppy’s mouth to get something to eat finally she finds a considerable chunk of regurgitated food the excitement of the meal is over the most resilient tried to stay awake to play but as with all youngsters that saw me full of food needs time and effort to digest and the puppies soon fall asleep with the youngsters asleep the adults finally have time to themselves a little grooming before dusk reinforces the bond between the leaders she licks and nibbles his face and ears to appease him then it’s time to settle down for the night the puppies go to sleep in the safety of the den and the adults curl up in the thickness of the grass inconspicuous in their camo uniforms another African.
night begins a dangerous time for the dogs hopefully tonight they’ll go unnoticed once more soon the dogs greatest natural enemies emerge to hunt one of them the leopard is already out and about she’s three months pregnant and on the verge of giving birth now she searches throughout her territory for a safe lair marking site so she goes just to ensure that other leopards have no doubt of ownership [Music] [Music] finally she settles on a rocky outcrop the crevices between the boulders should provide plenty of hiding places for her future litter of one or two cubs then she slinks back into the thickets she’ll look for a comfortable tree to pass the day and if she finds the opportunity for a meal on the way all the better cat fur cat a lioness finds motherhood a little easier than her spotted counterpart she lives in a pride system when lionesses share nursing and parental duties while the male’s establish some discipline the Cubs of this pride are old enough to follow the adults this morning they’re not hunting and they fear almost nothing their attitude and size allows them to strut arrogantly through the bush and it’s this confidence that others have to beware of lions are known to kill all predators that happened across their part not always to eat them sometimes just for the sake of killing it took only one clawed swipe to end the life of the most unfortunate of the adult dogs his body discarded and the Lions move on without even a second glance behind-the-scenes the leopard plays silent witness to the gruesome incident never one to miss an opportunity she’s not fussy she picks up anyone elses scraps distressed the pack surrounds the tree but .
the battle is lost their brother gone forever the hyena picks up the sounds and smells of the sudden death the alpha female takes charge she moves with urgency a command to the rest of the squad to act quickly the enemy passed too close to the den a threat to the puppies the den must be changed as quickly as possible and the puppies move to a safer place the pack works together they round up the puppies and move off immediately they trot to a quick pace too quick for some of the puppies to keep up on one lags behind the hyena finds the empty den so young and already a master of the call of distress his little voice carries over the bush the hyena homes her keen senses in on the pup all but before she gets too close her position is discovered and she’s forced to retreat one of the adults rescues the puppy and encourages him to move on before she gave birth the alpha female chose and prepared several sites now she confidently leads the way to one of them a sister arrives at the new site first and checks it out to make sure there are no squatters around Mt aardvark holes are like forts in a bush used by many of the African dwellers this one’s still empty the coast is clear the rest of the platoon follows closely behind after reassuring the puppies they all settle down soon life returns to normal routine this den is more secluded more overgrown and concealed within the bush during the next few months the alpha female may decide to change the camp again if she feels that the puppies safety is in jeopardy or if the dem gets infested with parasites in all the puppies will need the protection of a den for the first five months of their lives now there are only three months old and at this young age anything amuses them the adults show unbelievable patience toward the youngsters but when one oversteps the mark it gets disciplined immediately a quick reprimand and the puppy is free to go off to harass the next adult they begin to follow the adults but they are still too small to join a hunt during these times the pups remain at the den with an adult to babysit here they will grow into juveniles and prepare for the day when they will become the true nomads of the bush veldt a brief spring turns quickly to summer and the grasslands fill with new growth while the trees and bushes .
sprout a fresh coat of green the ten month old pups have grown into healthy juveniles fully integrated into the alpha females elite platoon they now fall into rank and take guidance from the leading pair this morning they start with a brisk Patrol through the mist the pressure of raising a young family comes to an end although the mouths to feed have increased now there are as many dogs to help on the hunt as long as they avoid the Predators and there sufficient suitable prey a dog’s life seems pretty easy during these times the juveniles have almost grown to adult size but they have not lost their sense of playfulness even though they could never bring down an adult zebra the fun comes from provoking a sparring match [Music] but they know better than to tease an animal with large and powerful who’s such as this giraffe like a bunch of renegades they gang up on an old half blind buffalo no harm meant just having a little fun at the expense of the ages [Music] the juveniles turn everything into a game a casual summer swim becomes a celebration and all the adults including the alpha female are drawn into the fun [Music] [Music] nearby the leopard mother leaves her cub to hunt well could it be for some quiet time alone he’s only eight months old and he’s already a handful he will depend on her for at least another year until he’s 18 months old now he can hunt on his own although only little things but he still depends on his mother for his main meal the juveniles energy seems endless the dogs cause such a commotion that even the old Buffalo comes in for a closer look any unusual noise is worth investigating a leopard never passes on the possibility of a free meal whatever the serving oblivious to the presence of the predator the dogs play on although the alpha female never drops her guard suddenly she spots the intruder faced with a pack of overexcited canines the best option for the leopard is to free up the closest tree and an uncomfortable tree at that this time the tables turn it’s payback time for the dogs they get the chance to harass the predator that could have eaten their brother but it takes a lot to keep the juveniles Minds focused on a mission with the cat out of reach the excitement of the chase ends quickly the alpha female knows that nothing more can be done to this predator she retreats .
the youngsters lose interest and move off looking for someone else to harass the next unfortunate victim comes into view the juveniles proved to be quite a nuisance but everything is done with a purpose all parts of honing the sensors and sharpening the reflexes excellent training for a real hunting mission eventually the alpha female and her mate decide that the yearlings games must end the alpha female disciplines with authority there’s more important business to attend to now the pack must hunt the mood changes the focus shifts bodies tighten into twitching muscles poised for attack and the fun-loving dog’s turn into determined hunters as soon as the prey is down the juveniles rip it apart enthusiastically it’s a rule unique to wild dogs first the youngsters eat then the adults but before the meal is over the dogs are interrupted strengthened by their numbers the dogs don’t let the lion get away with it that easily the youngsters attacked with great enthusiasm they’re uncoordinated assault succeeds in driving.
the lioness up a tree anything to get away from the multitude of gnashing teeth in the end it’s their mother that gets her own back a strategically placed bite makes the lion give up this fight triumphantly the youngsters claim their prize back what’s left of it anyway defeated for this round the lioness leaves for once the wild dogs win a battle against the strongest of predators and they suffered no casualties it’s an exceptional victory with this healthy set of youngsters the pack now marches at full force their ranks multiplied in strength and numbers nevertheless the leading force the alpha female and her mate cannot let their guard down one bout of a disease or a confrontation with a particularly cunning alliance of lions and their numbers could be decimated in an instant as leaders they must ensure the success of their squad and although.
the alpha female raised a healthy litter this year she and her mate need to create a new generation for the season to come in less than three months she will be ready to go through the ordeal of giving birth to another litter a lot of work lies ahead for her [Music] for this year she’s undoubtedly proven her leadership and maternal excellence but will she be able to uphold her rank for another year in this untamed world she cannot take anything for granted all relax her vigilance for now she is the undisputed leader of the pack marching forth through the dangerous battlegrounds of a part of Africa where her life and that of her pack depend on her ability and success in fighting back.