By Alex Jones
A ‘SAVAGE’ photo captures the GRISLY moment an African wild dog chows down on a baby impala using the antelope as a REAL-LIFE JAWBREAKER.
A remarkable image, snapped by a British photographer, show nature’s savage side as a painted wolf gnaws on an impala fawn’s jaws whilst staring straight at the camera.
The spectacular shot was snapped by luxury travel consultant, Josh Flatman (29) based in Bristol, UK, whilst on safari in in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. He had spent the day following a pack of wild dogs, also known as painted wolves, when he captured his grim snapshot.
“When it was happening, there is such excitement and you are so caught up in the moment that you don’t really fully take in what you are seeing,” explained Flatman.
“When I was looking through the pictures later and seeing the gruesome details you can’t really believe that you were there to witness it and see nature, red in tooth and claw.
“We first spotted the wild dogs just in front of camp. As we approached in the game vehicle they moved into a bush and relaxed in the shade. After a few minutes they all jumped up, alert and scattered off running through the bush. We followed but weren’t as quick as the dogs through the bush, when we spotted them again, we saw one lone wild dog chasing a female kudu across an open area. It had no chance of bringing down the kudu by itself, but I suppose it was in a hunting frenzy.
“Then we found most of the rest of the pack and they had killed a number of impala fawns of which they were feeding on in the scrub. It was a savage sight to behold.”
African wild dogs live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair, according to National Geographic. The female has a litter of two to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, actions, and vocalisations.
African wild dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of six to 20 (or more) animals. Larger packs were more common before the dogs became endangered. The dogs are often frequently killed by farmers who fear the dogs will attack their livestock.
Flatman said there was a mixed reaction to his fascinating shot – with some people even accusing him of faking the photo.
“It’s a very striking shot,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“At the time it was more the noise of the wild dogs feeding and crunching that people on the scene were reacting to. You don’t expect just how loud a predator is when it is feasting frantically on all parts of an animal like this.
“Regarding the actual image, I have been surprised that some people have thought it is fake, they don’t think a wild dog would eat the jaw like this!”
African wild dogs hit the headlines in the UK recently after 16 animals were killed at a safari park when a pack escaped from their enclosure due to damage caused by Storm Ciara earlier this month.
Staff at West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, were left ‘extremely saddened’ by the loss of six deer and 10 sheep.
The wild dogs were returned to their compound unharmed.