Australia’s top predator

Five thousand years ago, whilst writing was being invented, Stonehenge being built and Egyptian dynasties rising, Dingos were being brought to Australia by Indonesian sailors. Dingos are Australia’s wild dogs, thought to be a descendant of (domesticated) dogs in Asia.

Whilst Dingoes are found through most of mainland Australia, they are absent from Tasmania. The biggest threat to dingoes are cross breeding with dogs. Reason why it is very common to see dingo-like dogs in Australian suburbs and truly pure dingoes are extremely rare. Except in Fraser island where dogs are not allowed into the island.

Dingoes are considered magic animals – they are Australia’s top predator, the equivalent of Africa’s lion, and thus dingoes are responsible for keeping Australian biodiversity intact. Dingoes are the only chance against introduced predators like feral cats and foxes. Once the dingo is gone, poisons are all that will be left against these intruders.

As the top predator of Australia, Dingoes help keep wallaby and kangaroo populations at bay as these marsupials constitute the majority of the diet of Dingoes. Being such an adaptive animal, dingoes are most active at dawn and dusk, when their prey is also active.

The two most common myths about dingoes and their counter facts are:

1. “Pure” dingoes don’t bark. Dingoes do bark, but not like domestic dogs. Dingoes’ barks are generally harsher, and given in short bursts. Only bark when alarmed.

2. “Pure” dingoes are all ginger. However, there is genetic evidence that dingoes’ coats can also be black, black and tan, black and white, or plain white.

If one would inadvertently come into close contact with a Dingo, one must defend themselves aggressively.

[animalOfTheDay] – Zebra!

In Tsonga, Mangwa. A zebra’s pattern is as unique as a fingerprint. They normally hang out with impalas and wildebeests to protect one another from predators. Zebras lead the way as they like to munch the top part of the grass while Wildebeests prefer the bottom, so it works out quite well.
They cannot be ridden as their backs are not strong enough to carry any weight. They cannot be domesticated and they can use their kicks as defense as they can kill a lion with them.

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[animalOfTheDay] – Black Rhino

Black Rhinos, Mhelembe in Tsonga, are very much an endangered species. In the Thorny-bush reserve there are only 7 of them. The differences with the white rhino have nothing to do with colour, but their size (the black being slightly smaller) and the shape of their mouth. Because they eat bark, black rhinos have a beak like mouth.

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[animalOfTheDay] – Lions

In Tzonga, lions are called ngala.
We found these two lionesses gorging on a baby giraffe they hunted earlier in the day.

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These lionesses are in the process of wearing off a contraception program. The reserve had to undertake this measure as there was an overpopulation of lions and they were killing off other creatures such as hyenas.
This is the male that is dutifully and unsuccessfully been trying to preserve the species. His name is Marvin and it took us 2 days of searching to finally find him sleeping in the wide open.

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Creature searching vehicle

A couple of days late but here it is…

We whizz around the reserve to find animals. Morris, the spotter/tracker, sits in the front seat and follows prints and uses other things like dung to find the creatures we want to see.
This all terrain vehicle is able to go through bush, sandy river beds, steep slopes, all for the thrill of the chase; and of course to get only a few meters from the animals.

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[animalOfTheDay] – Cheetahs

After much driving around and almost missing them completely, we found these two male cheetahs with a big full belly from a feast earlier in the day. Female cheetahs are solitary, while male cheetahs normally live in pairs or threesomes helping each other to attack their dinner. These endangered cats always have their claws out.

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