I know I’m beginning to sound like a Brian Jackman groupie, but he is a great writer, does know his beans, and has just had piece Where the wild dogs are published in The Sunday Telegraph, another nugget from time spent at Tswalu, the result of a trip organised by Journeys by Design.
While his previous pieces have been very Tswalu focussed, the first concentrating on tracking lion, the second on Tswalu in general, Where the wild dogs are is a broad and highly informative piece about the wild dog, which is, as he says, and lest we forget, Africa’s most endangered species after the Ethiopian wolf.
It begins in typical Jackman fashion, a short and beautiful description of a herd of impala, startled by the wild dogs, their presence betrayed by the ‘mournful hooting’ of their contact call. Our attention captured, he then informs us as to why they are known as ‘chaka chake’ in southern Tanzania, how they have become so rare, what distinguishes them from other dogs, and where in Africa one is likely to spot them.
It’s a marvellous piece, and I won’t spoil your read anymore than I have to, but to return to being the groupie I am, I love how Jackman delights in the poetic, and nothing delights him more than to discover that the Latin name for wild dog – Lycaon pictus – means ‘the painted wolves’. Do have a read, and do get in contact if he’s piqued your interest vis a vis Tswalu, wild dogs and travelling to Africa.