What's the fuss about wild dogs? Well, it is quite a big deal. Wild dogs are endangered, almost disappearing from Tanzania's northern parks. It is easier to find a leopard, cheetah and lion on the same day than a wild dog. These “painted” dogs, roam far and wide covering great distances - here today but gone tomorrow, not to be seen again for months or years.
On the craggy slopes of Mount Sabyinyo in northwest Rwanda, eight spacious, stone cottages look out over the dramatic mist-wreathed scenery of the Virunga massif. Open fires crackle in the cottage hearths as private butlers attend to their well-heeled guests; tourists who have come from far flung places to track the mountain gorillas resident in the nearby Volcanoes National Park.
When I first interviewed for my job at AWF, I was told that I may, on occasion, be asked to travel to Africa for work. No one ever told me I’d be expected to go to Idaho, too. But there I was last Thursday, crawling out of my soft, warm bed and leaving my family at 5 in the morning to catch a plane to Sun Valley, Idaho. For work.
Bat-eared fox / Photo credit: Leslie Wainger
I won’t pretend to remember every animal or even species we saw every day, especially when it comes to birds, but here’s at least a partial look at our first afternoon of wildlife viewing.
Let’s just say I’m really glad I’m short and leave it at that, because I can’t imagine being tall and taking such a long flight in such a small seat. But as with all amazing journeys – and trust me, this trip was the very definition of amazing – all the rigors of travel were forgotten when we landed at last at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. Just the words sound magical, and that’s another very accurate way to describe our trip, as you’ll see.