We are extraordinarily still lucky to be able to see these amazing animals in the wild in Zimbabwe, and it is often the highlight of a game viewing trip.
Their survival is most certainly in jeopardy and it is lucky indeed to enjoy a sighting.
Often, when you’re lucky enough to find them, they are seen delightfully piled up together in a wonderful heap, resting and dozing in the heat of the day, under a tree, well-demonstrating their empathic social structure, for they are the supreme team players, their survival depends on it!
Sadly, these beautiful animals often get hit by vehicles while endeavouring to cross a road, and the death of just one, often spells a death knell for the entire pack.
Huge numbers have been annihilated by those mistakenly believing them to be a major threat to livestock and to humans too. This is not actually the case.
I recently re-watched on satellite TV, the documentary about legendary wild dog expert, Dr Greg Rasmussen, whose light aircraft crashed in a remote part of Hwange National Park some years ago, leaving him alone and fighting for his life for three days, his legs horribly smashed. Miraculously, and probably through this feisty fellow’s sheer grit determination and will to live, he did survive, was eventually found by the search party, and over many months and through many operations, and much excellent, dedicated physiotherapy from Margie Gibson, eventually learned to walk again, against the odds.
Rasmussen has pretty much devoted his life to the preservation and study of wild dogs and he is fascinating company on the topic. Watch out for this documentary as it makes riveting viewing and is a fine example of survival techniques in practice and of a positive mental attitude, bringing about a happy ending.
The event will be hosted, no doubt amusingly and proficiently, by popular actors and MCs Kevin Hanssen and Chipo Chikara, and Rasmussen as well as Peter Blinston, both of Painted Dog Conservation, plus Clive Stockil of Save Valley Conservancy, and Dr Rosemary Groom of African Wildlife Conservation Fund, will deliver what promises to be fascinating and enlightening presentations about these incredible animals.
A classy meal will be served with complimentary Painted Wolves wine and live entertainment by local favourites Josh Ansley, Derek Bailey and Evicted, follows. Short film Wild Dogs — On The Edge will also be screened and presented by the renowned filmmaker Kim Wolhuter and there are a number of lucky draws with great safari and wildlife related prizes.
With a dress theme of “safari chic”, no doubt those attending will pull out the stops, dress up and ensure this worthy cause receives the full support, and this environmental benefit effort, the full enjoyment, that both deserve. With an art exhibition and auction thrown in, attendees will leave with a “Doggie Bag” full of free gifts.
Meantime, following all the fundraising efforts and corporate sponsorships that have come in for the Mukuvisi Woodlands Waterfowl Pond Rehab Project, this project will shortly reach fruition.
Most building materials have now been accumulated and the Mukuvisi team is very excited. The children who took part in the schools fundraising event towards this, will be well-pleased, as will all the companies who are assisting. Another schools’ event along the same lines is already in the pipeline for next year, along with an adult event along similar lines which will probably involve a “treasure trail” with clever clues, tracking down some planned Geocaches in the area, quiz questions and more.
Mukuvisi Woodlands has continued all year to offer its Woodland Walk and Run on every last Sunday of the month, taking you into parts of the Woodlands you may never before have enjoyed, and allowing families and friends a lovely outdoors start and some enjoyable exercise for a leisurely Sunday. This is well worth taking advantage of and will give you an excellent taste of the wild, right here in Harare.
– ROSIE MITCHELL