New Trip Reports: The Western Sahara, South Africa & Nepal

Three new reports on

Western Sahara, 2014: Juan Luis Ortega, 10 days & 13 species including an African Wolf (with pictures too).

South Africa, 2014: Juan Luis Ortega, 10 days & 44 species including Black-footed Cat, Cape Clawless Otter, Aardwolf and Cheetah.

Nepal, 2014: Philippe and Yvette Orsini, 2 weeks & 16 species during a (predominantly walking) safari, including Tiger & Gaur.



  • vdinets

    I was skeptical at first, but the photo sure looks like African wolf. They should have collected some scat for DNA analysis.

  • white1985

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with wolves yet (unless you count animals in zoos). Tim and I also visited Western Sahara at the beginning of this year (trip report is coming real soon now, but first I need to finish my phd). We also saw two large canines and we managed to get some pictures. As we know that sizes are easily overestimated in the dark, we were convinced that we had seen two jackals crossing the road and not wolves. However, with my limited expertise, the animals on our pictures look very much like the ones in the new trip report… Does anyone have an opinion on our pics? (I try to upload them right away) What field characteristics would be most reliable to separate wolf and jackal (even when it’s not 100% error proof)?

  • Juan Luis Ortega

    Hello White 1985.
    We see very often wolves in the area in which we live (Valladolid, Castilla y Leon, Spain).
    Seeing as a large dog attacked the wolf in front of us, allowing us to make clear reference of the size. In addition, we observed for several days after the same dog.
    In your photos is not easy to calculate the size due to lack of reference (excepting shrubs), but different aspects of the morphology of the animal (massive neck and body proportions), makes me think that ye have observed, almost certainly, two African wolfs.
    With all the Saharawis that we speak (they speak spanihs perfectly), were well aware the existence of wolves and jackals, differentiating with no problem, in the Aargub-Villa Cisneros area.
    A greeting.
    Juan Luis Ortega

    • dinets

      I agree. The proportions are clearly more wolf-like than jackal-like.

    • white1985

      Thanks for your reply!
      If a jackal is about the size of a red fox (which we see very often here), then I’d say these animals were certainly taller. They crossed the road about 15-20m in front of us, so we got a good look at them. I’ll add coordinates and more info on the sighting in our trip report that will follow soon.


    • DanR

      Still not convinced these are wolves. The best proof in the field is vocal, wolf howling is different from jackal howling and in the presence of puppies wolfs sound a beautiful bark at a low tune.

      • Juan Luis Ortega

        Hello DanR
        Certainly are not jackals, but rather wolves.
        The work of DNA analysis has determined the presence of canis lupus in Africa, that’s for sure.
        A greeting.

  • Juan Luis Ortega

    Hello vdinets.
    Unfortunately we did not collect excrement samples. We simply take graph document.
    In additionit is quite possible that the samples were not suitable for analysis. Every time that we have collected stool samples for DNA analysis, one of the main requirements is that the samples were very fresh, and unfortunately, the droppings observed, already had several days, and climate of the desert were very degraded for analysis.
    The area was very marked (about 10 droppings) and as we plan to return soon to the area, take appropriate equipment, without doubt, take samples for analysis.
    A greeting.

    Juan Luis Ortega

  • juan luis ortega

    Hello Bob
    Safia reserve is an acclimatization station for wildlife, is closed, with a total area of 1000 ha. , And have been introduced and are breeding Adax, Mohor and ostriches for reintroduction into the wild or in a future large-area park, representative of the Saharan fauna. The people told us, that poaching is very high in the area.

  • juan luis ortega

    Hello again White 1985
    Although I know that is a personal choice, I recommend you not attach exact coordinates of the place of observation.
    We do not include more details about the sighting, because according to the people commented us, there is an animal highly pursued by poachers and livestock wardens, as the dorcas gazelle, of which not accurate exact data on the trip report.
    And we never know ……
    A greeting

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