Wild dogs may be under pressure but Kruger’s top predator still finds time to play. Wild contributor Paolo Giovanni Cortelazzo was treated to a sighting of the painted dogs taking it easy.

Italian vet Paolo Giovanni Cortelazzo is a wildlife enthusiast who has been visiting South Africa’s national parks since 1999. On his most recent visit to the Kruger National Park he enjoyed a leisurely sighting of wild dogs.

“My wife and I were driving along the Timbavati Road (S39) one morning after spending the night at Tamboti Tented Camp. We were astounded when we came upon a roadblock of more than 30 African wild dogs.” [Most likely the Orpen Pack, which numbered 34 dogs at one stage. – Ed.]

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Telling by the blood stains the wild dogs must have been hunting recently. Pictures by Paolo Giovanni Cortelazzo

“The dogs were all lying in the road, possibly resting after an early morning hunt – the fur on some of the dogs was still stained with blood. We were the only car at that time so the dogs were relaxed and we could enjoy their presence.

“When a few other dogs made their appearance, it caused up-and-down running, playing and barking around our car. After about 40 minutes some other cars arrived; the dogs soon disappeared into the bush.”

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About the photographer

Paolo and his wife live in Italy and own a veterinary clinic near Venice. They adore South Africa’s wildlife and also have a house near Nelspruit. In December this year they will once again visit Kruger and Mapungubwe national parks. They plan on relocating to South Africa in the near future and hope to work in conservation.

Camera specs

Nikon 5100, Nikon 70/300mm VR2, F4.5-5.6

Also read our book review on African Wild Dogs – On the Front Line by Brendan Whittington-Jones.