Painted wolves are one of Africa’s most enigmatic creatures, little understood and heavily persecuted. To me they are by far the most endearing—even when they feed on primates.
With only 6,600 left in the world, these predators—also known as African wild dogs— have been hounded to the edge of extinction. For over a century they were considered vermin, and the hunting and killing has reduced their population to just one percent of its former size.
Since 2013, I have been tracking and photographing three packs of painted wolves alone, on foot, in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley. I’ve got to know them well as I’ve watched them hunt, rest, and play.
I became obsessed, reading every book and scientific paper on the animals, scientifically