Strategy, Structure, System and Skills – the 4s.
Sometimes System is one word, used and practiced over and over again.
What’s the one word?
Let’s ask the expert, the African Wild Dog.
The African Wild Dog is a social animal that lives in packs/ groups which can be from 4 to two dozen individuals. There is an hierarchy in place among each groups which is led by a dominant couple usually the oldest. The African Wild Dog is also known as the painted hunting dog or painted wolf. The African Wild Dog is from the biological family “Canidae” which is a lineage of carnivorans that includes domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals etc. The dominant couple of each pack are usually the only ones allowed to breed. Any other female that gives birth usually have its pups kidnapped by the dominant female or the pups are killed.
The African Wild Dog stands at 24 to 30 inches in shoulder height and 28 to 44 inches in head and body length, with a tail length of 11 to 16 inches. The body weight of the adults is usually between 18 to 36 kg. Compared to other Canids, the African Wild Dog is comparatively lean and tall with outsized ears.
The structure of the African Wild Dog is as stated, one dominant couple and the rest are foot soldiers, i.e. hunters and those who stay back to protect the pups.
What’s the (hunting) strategy of the African Wild Dog?
The African Wild Dog is a specialised pack hunter with a hunting success of up to 90%. This is higher than the success rate of a Lion 27 to 30% and Hyena 25 to 30%.
Lions and Hyenas are larger than the African Wild Dogs. From time to time the larger predators steal the Dogs’ food and they also kill the wild dogs.
The hunting strategies differ according to prey, for large prey such as Wildebeest, the dogs rush them to panic the herd, isolate the weak ones, chase it down and eat as you chase. Small prey such as rodents, hares and birds are hunted individually. Note the difference in strategy, so don’t always copy and paste, but adapt your strategy to fit into your system/ environment/ market.
The most important survival adaptation (aka skill set) of the African Wild Dog is teamwork. They work as a team to bring down prey twice as big as it is. They also have superb hearing and a fantastic sense of smell. These senses they use to track down prey.
System is an organized scheme or method.
So what one word that captures the (successful hunting) system of the African Wild Dog?
Before I say it, take a guess…what’s your one word?
The African Wild Dogs are cooperative pack hunters and they don’t tire easily. So they chase large prey for long distances across the open plains, tiring out their prey before going in for the kill. The average chase typically only goes as far as 2km, during which time the prey animal, if large, is repeatedly bitten on the legs, belly and rump until it stops running, while smaller prey is simply pulled down and torn apart.
Do you know the one word now?
Well, it is persistence.
The African Wild Dog is also known as the persistence predator (aka endurance hunter). If you are a prey selected by a contingent of African Wild Dogs, you are not likely to make it out alive. They don’t give up, they pursue till they achieve their target.
Instances abound of Gazelles (pursued by the Dogs) diving into rivers infested with Crocodiles. The fear of the never give up spirit of the Dogs makes them fearsome. The Dogs will charge Zebras and Buffaloes, if they run, they die.
In conclusion, size is not a critical factor for success but teamwork (collaboration) is key, and it is said that life is a marathon not a 100 meters dash, so what one word will define your life’s quest?
Olumide Holloway aka King Olulu not from Zulu.