In May this year Team FIFA – MESSI, ROBIN and YOGI were moved from the AfriCat Care Centre, to a 5ha enclosure in the centre of the 200sq km Okonjima Nature Reserve – to prepare them for release!
THEIR STORY SO FAR:
Last month the 5ha enclosure was divided into 2 – the older females, who had discovered the new pups hours after placing them into the 5ha enclosure and appeared out of no-where – were placed on the one side and the youngsters on the other side with the hope they would bond and could then be introduced to each other to form one pack – the youngsters adding youth and strength and speed to the pack and the old girls adding wisdom and teaching the young hunting skills?
As the cold hit, dens were dug on either side so that the dogs could stay warm, but still stay close to each other.
A live camera feed was added and we have been monitoring them 24:7.
Many other organisations across Southern Africa were approached for advice and many told us wild dog introductions are complicated, because of the hierarchy and group dynamics – No one had introduced dogs in their final year with dogs in their first – but we had no other option. Ricky and Raine were struggling in the wild – 2 dogs on their own and elderly, find the hunt strenuous – the youngsters on the other hand had no hunting experience!
While the vets were still with us (the annual health and dental check time of year) – we decided to open the gate between the 2 groups . . .
The 3 youngsters were monsters – bored teenagers showing very little interest in any bond!
Raine was not interested and after a few attempts – she took off and stayed clear! Ricky however wanted to connect in some way and did everything expected from an older dog, allowing the young to lead – she showed submission and allowed them to dominate her – but the 3 youngsters were fearless and fierce and showed little mercy!
Then the 2 older siblings turned on each other!
After a whole day of trying to keep them apart – yet allowing enough interaction to try and judge the dynamics – the project was aborted!
Ricky was darted and needed medical attention. A full report will be published later – Raine and Ricky have now been separated – mission unsuccessful!
A traumatic day for all at team AfriCat!