PDC Rehabilitation Facility: Saving painted dogs one at a time.
By Peter Blinston
At Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), we have always placed immense importance on each individual dog. Vusile is perhaps the best current example that illustrates this point. She had a troubled start to life following the death of her parents and she ended up as an orphan in our Rehabilitation Facility for a while with her two brothers. She was successfully released back into the wild but after some months she vanished as her release pack (the Bambanani) floundered
Occasional sightings told us that she was still alive and well though. Until the day she emerged with her new mate, Temba, and six pups.
The alpha female of the Nyamandhlovu Pack, was Socks. She is Vusile’s daughter and Socks had had 33 pups, 16 of them still alive as I write.
Socks pups have formed the BaNyayi pack which have had 23 pups.
Vusile's two sons Whitetail and Kisser, have formed the Broken Rifle Pack, who have had 23 pups to date. Her other sons Vusela and Painted formed the Sammalisha pack and we have reason to believe that they are south of the Wilderness concession, about 50 kilometers from PDC.
Vusile was killed by a lioness when she was seven years old.
The intervention by PDC to help one dog has resulted in the formation of five functional packs in Hwange NP and we can trace 137 individual dogs back to Vusile. These constitute more than half of the estimated Hwange NP painted dog population.
The name Vusile translates roughly as “being clever” in a street smart kind of way. Hard to argue with that, and something I can relate well with.