Will these antelopes, and their hooves, keep their cool?
This is the moment wild dogs try to hunt down klipspringers that were cornered at the edge of a rock.
On the 22nd of February 2022, the MalaMala, rangers were very fortunate to share a once-in-a-lifetime sighting with their guests. Wild Dogs trying to hunt antelope on the edge of a cliff! Guides Steff McWilliam and Michael Botes tell us the story:
“This pack of 21 Wild Dog had been on the Reserve for the past week. On this particular day they were settling down in the Mlowathi River, North of its confluence with the Sand River. Rangers had sighted the dogs later on an afternoon safari, probably on the hunt for something to eat. As it is not uncommon for Wild Dogs to hunt twice a day. “
“They encountered Klipspringers (small antelope) and cornered these poor victims on these massive rocks. One of the rangers who were filming – Michael Botes has actually witnessed these very Klipspringers go through the same ordeal with a different pack of Wild Dogs before! Steff McWilliam was also filming in the sighting and both of these guides could not believe what was happening!”
“It was mostly the young Wild Dogs who were trying to get to the Klipspringers.” Whereas the adults were not showing much interest in this game of cat and mouse – or in this case – Dog and Antelope.
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“Now for Klipspringers, as daunting it may be having these predators in their habitat, they were designed by Mother Nature to live in rocky outcrops. Their hooves are very pointy, allowing them to be very nimble and agile on rocks such as these. And living in habitats like these usually assists in avoiding the bigger predators.”
“What makes this sighting utterly unbelievable is the fact that Wild Dogs are not known to be climbers of any sort. Their paws are not at all designed for what we witness here! The fact that the Dogs did not slip or fall is incredible in itself. Maybe soon wild dogs will be able to hunt antelope on the edge of a cliff successfully”
Steff McWilliam tells “that with the terrain being so rocky and uneven, is what made it even more incredible to watch both these species run at such a pace. One wrong step at such a speed could easily result in a massive injury or death. Although it may not look high, a bad landing could easily injure one of the Wild Dogs. The entire time we were terrified that one of the Klipspringers would panic and take a leap of faith…in which case it would have been directly into the jaws of the Wild Dogs. The amazing fight or flight instinct of the antelope and their strategic tactic was unreal to witness. In any other setting they wouldn’t have stood a chance. But this was their territory and having the home-advantage and their quick wit was ultimately the deciding factor in this dramatic display of the battle for life and death.”
So did the Wild Dogs conquer against the klipspringers?
“This really had everyone on the vehicle, hearts pumping as they were anxiously waiting to see what happens next. But eventually, the Wild Dogs lost interest and moved on. Where later they did actually hunt one of Africa’s slightly bigger antelope, impala.”
Have a look at MalaMala YouTube Channel to see what happens in the Park.
The bush will always be a crazy place…Crazy-beautiful. Crazy-wonderful. Crazy-unbelievable.