Wild Dog Plays Dead to Escape Lion

May 16, 2019

 

Calvet, a forty-nine-year-old African Bush Camps’ guide, and his guests from Somalisa Camp were on a game drive in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, when they came across a pack of wild dogs that just finished eating a kudu but ended up being too close to a lioness!

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There was another vehicle from Somalisa Camp at the sighting (it can be seen in the video) and both vehicles had around 4 guests in it.

The wild dogs had killed a kudu and spent most of the day resting and cooling off in the pan. However, in the afternoon they were spotted by a female lion. The lioness is one of Cecil's daughters who is nursing cubs not too far from Chris pan, where the sighting took place, and she is a bit of a celebrity there in Hwange National Park.  

With her eyes fixed on the pack, Cecil’s daughter crouched and started to stalk, and in the flash of a moment, she pounced and managed to grab one of the dogs. As you can hear on the audio of the video, the Somalisa guests were in a slight state of shock, as the attack of the lioness came rather immediate and as a surprise.

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The lioness held onto the wild dog for long time which seemed lifeless in her grip and many already believed it was already dead, as it stayed completely still. The Somalisa guests felt helpless for the captured wild dog and had almost given up hope for him. When another member of the pack approached the lioness, she sprang into action, attacking the other wild dog ferociously.

Then, to the surprise of everyone watching, the previously caught wild dog got up and was able to make his escape. The guests were very relieved at this and were amazed to see how the wild dog was able to pretend to be dead for so long.

Both wild dogs have been confirmed to have survived the attack unharmed. This incident took place two or so weeks ago and our follow up sees that the wild dog, named “Notch,” is still alive and seemingly healthy, which is a relief as he is the alpha male of the pack, which we call the “Kennedy pack.” The alpha female, called “Storm” is very pregnant, so some pups are hopefully on the way as well. We couldn't identify the second dog grabbed but it has also been confirmed to have survived. 

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This is an extremely rare sighting and Calvet himself has never seen such a scenario in over ten years as a safari guide. His advice to someone who might have this same experience one day is to “keep an eye out for the underdog and to never underestimate wild dogs!”

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