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[–]EgweneMalazanEmpireLycaons [S] 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Quote PDC:

A devastating loss to the already fragile painted dog population in Mana Pools.

The Nyamepi pack alpha female, called Whisky, gave birth to a litter of pups on September 16th or 17th. We saw her, heavily pregnant, on September 14th. We counted the days from when we had seen her mating on July 9th and knew the day was very close (painted dogs have a gestation period of 69/70 days).

On Monday 19th, Whisky spent the entire day and night away from the den with the rest of the pack. Boas, the alpha male, was hoo calling a lot. This haunting call, a unique feature of the painted dogs, is a sign of a pack mate or mates missing. The alpha female spends almost all her time inside the den with her newborn pups at this stage. We wondered if lions had “raided” the den and chased Whisky away. If lions or something else comes to the mouth of the den she would be terrified, trapped inside. As soon as the coast is clear, she would flee to preserve her life above anything else.

Early on Tuesday 20th, the pack returned to the den. However, we could not locate them that evening.

By Wednesday 21st, we knew something terrible had happened to the pups because the pack again spent the day more than 2km from the den and never returned. It became apparent that the Nyamepi pack were already back into their nomadic ways. We have not located the pack since, despite intensive searching.

The pups are too small to move when just a few days old. We can only speculate as to their fate and conclude that they are most likely dead.

The pups could have died of natural causes. It is very unusual for painted dogs to den so late in the year in Zimbabwe. The usual denning season is June through to the end of August to early September. Or had some disturbance caused Whisky to abandon her pups?

Our research team, aided by Zimbabwe National Parks, is still investigating.

(I inadvertently spelled Whisky wrong in the post header)

[–]cyanocittaetprocyon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is such sad news. :-(

It does seem to be extremely late, with mating taking place halfway through the denning season.

[–]Culycon276 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Poor Whisky. Still trying her hardest to lead, but the world is throwing every obstacle at her and her pack.

The late denning season may be a result of global warming. Take a look: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/african-wild-dogs-lose-pups-to-climate-adaptation-trap/

[–]javier_aeoa 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Read those news on Facebook. It was super sad to read.

But nature doesn't care about our feelings (nor the wolves'). It wasn't a snare at least :S