Touching the wild

9 12 2008

Some years back I shepherded a couple of young English lasses (I was a bit younger then too) around. I even took them up the Chimanimanis near the village of the same name. On asking them what they thought of Zimbabwe they commented that it was not really as wild as they thought – it was a bit too civilized. I asked if they were hoping for lions outside the back door. They said yes, sort of.

The last couple of days it has been jackals in the lands. Jenni put up a young couple of black-backed jackals yesterday and although I did not witness the chase I did see an adult sitting on a drainage culvert which it ducked into when I approached. Having lost sight of Jenni I called her and looked up to see her trotting down the road with a couple of jackals in tow. They were certainly making a show of it, yelping their eeyah! bark and were surprisingly unconcerned by my presence in the truck and even followed us to the night storage dam where Jenni likes to cool off. I didn’t have a camera on me then but this evening I went back along the same route from the other direction and sure enough Jenni put them up again. This time I spotted their den, an ant “bear” (an ant eater) hole in a drainage ditch. One ducked into the hole and Jenni gave the other a good though not totally committed chase. Eventually she got bored and came trotting back with the jackal nipping at her heals.

Jenni and the Jackal

Jenni and the Jackal

It’s not a great photo (a bit dark and a very basic camera) but you get the idea. Jackals are a bit of a concern as they are a major vector of rabies but as far as I could see this one was behaving normally if a bit brashly!



4 responses

10 12 2008
Big Blister

Cool picture! I didn’t realize Jenni is so big – she must be even bigger than Murungu who is 86 lb (39 kg). And the jackals look incredibly like coyotes which can kill a dog if there are enough of them. So I hope they don’t get too bold.

13 12 2008

Yes, she is about 40kg though I am not too keen to try picking her up. I checked with both a vet and a professional hunter and both assured me that the jackals’ behaviour was most likely defending their den and not rabies! If you follow the link to the Wikipedia article you will see that jackals can team up to bring down bigger game.

14 12 2008

How close were you to get the pics of the jackal?

23 12 2008

About 10m. I was still in the pickup.

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