african wild dog rex

Goodbye Rex – Okonjima’s painted dog

Team AfriCat sadly and regretfully announces the passing of REX.

Over the past few weeks we monitored him with growing concern. For unknown reasons REX’S condition deteriorated rapidly and in the end not much was left of the brave and exceptional dog we knew . . .  Instead he became only a mere shadow of his former self. He lost a considerable amount of weight, his fur started to fall out and he appeared to be ‘exhausted’. At times even found on his own – while his siblings moved away, hunting without him. However they always returned and made sure he never lost out on a meal.

Rex and his sister Ricky

Wild Dogs always cover long distances and for a long time Rex managed to keep up with his sibling sisters Raine and Ricky, despite his physical disability. Even though he had learnt to live with his disability for more than 3 years – he started to lose his strength and struggled to keep up with his siblings since January.

We eventually released him from his misery. We decided to leave his body at the site – giving his siblings the opportunity to mourn. They finally moved away yesterday afternoon . . . Wild dogs need to know where their companions are – otherwise they spend days looking for them.

REX will always be remembered for his extraordinary courage and unconditional and characteristic loyalty towards his siblings and we will always remember his bravery. With only 3 legs – he kept the admirable ‘team-spirit’ wild dogs are known for and contributed to the success and safety of his pack – in spite of his impediment.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and so we hope that our two females Ricky and Raine might be now more sensitive and receptive to the introduction of our 3 wild dog pups Jogi, Messi and Robin now that they they have lost another member of their pack.
We are going to tackle this project as soon as possible to give these dogs the best chances to live a free life in the Okonjima Nature Reserve:


The wild dog pack

REX and his 6 siblings arrived at AfriCat in 2005 as 3 week old puppies. Raising these pups was a journey full of trials and tribulations, but in the end resulted in the successful release of Rex, Ricky, Raine and Ruby into the Okonjima Nature Reserve in Sept 2010.
In 2012 Rex’s left front leg was ultimately amputated due to giraffe kick hitting the humerus, half-way between his shoulder and elbow – the original operation unsuccessful and septicaemia forcing us to make the decision to amputate. After 5 months of recovery, the quartet returned back into the wild. Ever since the release REX did exceptionally well and adapted to his new situation and remained to be a major player in the pack dynamics of the team.

What a journey this dog has travelled . . . He survived a snare and a leg amputation – yet he never gave up!

AfriCat will never be forget a dog called . . . . REX

Rex the african painted dog




2 thoughts on “Goodbye Rex – Okonjima’s painted dog

  1. RIP Rex. I just watched episodes of the wonderful “Cheetah Kingdom” show on Youtube and saw the parts about Rex and his siblings. What a wonderful story. Thank you for all that you do for the cheetahs, the wild dogs and other wildlife in Namibia. Bless you all!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. We are hoping that the new wild dogs – Team Fifa will continue where Rex left off and help to educate everyone who visits and the local community that we must conserve what nature gave us and all live together.

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