World Rangers Day: A reason to celebrate in Zimbabwe

To celebrate World Rangers Day, the Painted Wolf Foundation is donating to ZimParks 100 copies of my book, Painted Wolves: A Wild Dog’s Life, co-authored with Peter Blinston. This has a value of US$12,000 which will be used to support rangers in the field. This is not the reason to celebrate, but our reasons for donating is.

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Nine

“As the light begins to disappear, two hyena believe they can saunter down for an evening drink in the wolves’ private pool. The pack has other ideas and the dove is forgotten and a ferocious battle ensues.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Eight

“They storm up and down the bank and along the ridge directly above us. The pups are beside themselves with excitement and team up to ambush the adults and then each other. This is what I love about the painted wolves. A pure celebration of joy and elation, just because they are with each other.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Seven

“Five hyena start to close in, in a decreasing semi-circle. A fight is about to ensue. The wolves are no longer eating but preparing to repel the scavengers. Two hyena launch an attack and the wolves leave their kill and retreat to the edge of the Mana River.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Six

“However, not far away, a female elephant seems to be randomly walking in wide loops. “She’s searching for her baby!” confirms Henry. Looking through my binoculars I could see sweat pouring from her temples – a sure sign of stress.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Five

“After a while, one of the pups seems to tire of the boring adults, rises and starts to walk towards us. “Let’s stay very quiet, very still and very low.” I tell my guests. As we sit motionless the little pup ambles past us not five metres away, totally unconcerned with our presence.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Four

“On our return we come across five lions sitting on a ridge only about 100 metres away … They watch our procession of eight people with indeterminate curiosity. It is starting to get dark and the time when it is safe to be out with lions on foot is coming to a close.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Three

“Last but not least is Painted Dog Conservation’s bush camp where over 1,000 children a year from local primary schools attend to learn about the painted wolves and conservation. They each spend five days here and for them it is like going to Disneyland.”

In the Land of Painted Wolves: Day Two

“A little kick from a yellow footed leg sparks hope. Then a wriggle and a few more kicks and a little trunk escapes the confines of the sack to take in its first breaths from mother earth. He’s alive!”