Learning From Wild Dogs

by Patrick Liew on October 15, 2019

On 29 December 2012, I visited the Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary at Mossel Bay, Western Cape of South Africa.
As the Tourist Guide led a group of us from one section to another, he introduced various animals to us.
The purpose was to give us a better appreciation of other fellow residents on planet Earth.
Understand the part that they playin our ecology and to appreciate and value them.
At the end of the tour, I had not only a better knowledge of the animals, I became a more enlightened person.
In particular, I became more appreciative of one particular species of animals.
In fact, it made such a deep impression on me that it became a major learning experience in my life.
To me, the climax of the tour was learning about wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).
These fierce-looking animals looked like some of our domestic dogs except that they were taller and have ears that were larger and were generally round and black.
They have brown, black, white and yellowish-brown patches all over their body.
And bushy tails, the tips of which are mainly white.
The looks of wild dogs might not be attractive, at least to me.
However, there was a quality about them which moved my heart.
Let me share with you this quality by repeating the story that was told to us by the Guide.
Hopefully, by the time I finished, you will not think that they are wild animals.
In fact, they are probably a lot less wild than some humans, especially in terms of some of their social behaviours.
By the way, I once went to a Zoo and it had a cage for the worst animal in the world.
When you looked into the cage, guess what?
You would find a mirror facing you.
Back to the wild dogs.
These mammals lived and hunted as a pack.
Once they have identified a prey, they would be very focused on it.
Worked together to pursue it in a long and open chase and would not give up until it becomes “wildlife sashimi.”
As a result, they have a success rate for a kill of about 80%.
Lions despite their reputation as aggressive predators have a rate of only about 30%.
Wild dogs have one of the best stamina in the animal kingdom.
Eventually, they would either outrun a prey or pursue it until the prey ran out of energy.
Usually, while giving chase, the younger and fitter wild dogs are better at closing the gap with the prey and they would snap at it.
The prey would then hemorrhage and would eventually have to stop running after losing an excessive amount of blood.
According to the Guide, “The wild dogs would share the feast with the older dogs.
“They would even regurgitate the flesh to make it easier for the older dogs to consume it.”
I found out later that they would also bring food to the sick or injured wild dogs, pups, and wild dogs that stayed behind to look after the rest of the pack.
Instinctively, they seemed to remember that the older and other wild dogs had looked after them before and they should return the favour.
Somehow, they also realised it was important for them to protect and look after the weaker wild dogs in their pack.
I witnessed this wonderful  behaviour during a safari ten days earlier.
Our group was trailing a group of hyenas.
They were stealthily pursuing a pack of wild dogs, including puppies and older wild dogs.
Somehow the stronger wild dogs caught wind of the predators.
Instead of running away, they reorganized themselves and defended the weaker ones.
They did not allow the hyenas to take any advantage of any member of their pack.
After a protracted test of courage, action and perseverance, the hyenas gave up and left them alone.
The Guide related to us another story about the wild dogs living in the Sanctuary which touched me.
He said, “We used to have one wild dog that was old, sick and dying away.”
“Interestingly, the rest of the wild dogs would help to feed and clean it.”
“They would also take turns to protect it.”
“This is so unlike many of the other animals.”
“For example, in the case of leopards or cheetahs, they would probably eat the dead or dying animal even though it is from the same breed.”
At that point, I thought about humans.
Humans may not eat their own kind.
However, they are capable of taking worst actions against each other.
The Guide added, “Eventually, that sick dog passed away and we buried it near to the shelter of the wild dogs.”
“Later, we were surprised to see one of them lying on top of the burial ground.”
“It became a sad experience because that wild dog was mourning for the dead.”
“It  laid on the burial ground for about two weeks.”
“We have since learned that if any of the wild dogs is dead, we will have to leave it alone.”
“Somehow, the dogs would need time to grieve over one of their own.”
“These animals have a heart for their elderly and other members of their pack.”
I pondered over this experience on my flight back.
I wondered if after a good meal, the wild dogs would sit together on a cool part of the bushland.
And have the patience to listen to older wild dogs sharing their stories from the past.
I wondered if the elderly wild dogs would share wisdom crystallized from real-life battles and pass on their knowledge of practical living to the younger generation.
I wondered if the elderly wild dogs would mentor and coach the young so that they could improve their hunting skills and live a better life.
I wondered if they would remind the puppies how their parents had looked after them well.
They should also look after the older wild dogs when they grow up and thus, continue the cycle of life.
I also wondered about the human race.
In particular, I could not help thinking about our Asian culture.
We have always been taught to respect and look after the elderly.
I wondered if the next generation would continue to support this practice.
Would they end up doing better than the wild dogs?
What do you think?

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

Follow me on:


Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Let’s connect on instagram.com/patrickliewsg
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //twitter.com/patrickliew77
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn


My Quora https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Liew-5?share=24abf3c1&srid=uL2Gz

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: