It is with deep sorrow that we inform you about the death of Browny, a member of the Destiny pack and Sock's alpha male of the then Nyamandlovu pack. He was found dead on Sunday by our Executive Director, Peter Blinston. Browny was more than nine years old.
Below, Peter gives a detailed account of how he found Browny and the alpha's contribution to his kind over the years...
“He was seen the morning of Sept 14th by PDC staff and they reported to me that he looked weak and struggling to keep up with Lucy and Lily, who stopped to wait for him. When I heard this I suspected that his time was nearly up. Nine is old for a painted dog.
I drove out on Sunday afternoon to look for Browny, basing my search on 20 years of acquired knowledge and gut feelings. I started my search where he had been seen on Saturday morning and drove north towards Elephant Eye Safari Camp. As the road forked left towards Elephant Eye itself, instinct told me to go right. Right was right. I picked up the signal from Browny’s collar after approximately two kilometres. I drove towards the signal, knowing he was near the road or maybe on the road itself. The signal from his collar changed from resting (30bpm) to moving (45bpm). But his actual location did not change. Maybe he was lying down, irritated by mopane bees?
I drove as close as I could get to him and estimated he was still 500m off the road. I checked for the signals from Lucy and Lily, but there was none. Browny was on his own.
Without hesitation I drove in, manoeuvring my way around trees until I was really close. I knew Browny would not get up until I was right next to him because he has become so accustomed to our vehicles and dare I say he got to know us.
As I stepped out of my Land Rover I saw a hyena running away, approximately 150m in front of me, the same distance I estimated Browny to be “resting”. As I walked forward I could care less about the hyena, I knew, deep down, that Browny was dead. In my head, I kept repeating, “please, don’t let it be snare.” I’m sure I said it out loud as well.
I walked up to what remained of Browny; the hyena must have been hungry. I estimated that he had died on Saturday morning, not long after our guys had seen him. It was fitting that PDC staff were the last people to see him alive and that I had found him. I loaded his remains into my car and drove him back to our Rehab, where he was buried alongside Socks. He had been her mate, father of 36 pups and grandfather to many more painted dogs that still roam Hwange NP and beyond. He had certainly played his sole in maintaining his kind and we already miss him.”