Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Disastrous Effects of the Loss of Pack Leader

Berenice with Flowers, Peter Pan and Napoleon

In 1987 Berenice wrote about the impact of the loss of two senior male Dingoes over three years. The first was Napoleon and then, in 1987, Peter Pan.

Napoleon was a born leader, and during his life time undisputed leader. Under the
protection of his keen vigilance, our Dingoes were confident; when he accepted a
person, they accepted; when he accepted a frightening situation, they could adjust.

After Napoleon's sudden death, the responsibility of the group suddenly fell
on Peter Pan. He had always been more an 'uncle' figure, never an alpha, and in
desperation he turned to me for support, his eyes appealing to me to solve the
dreadful predicament that had befallen the group.

Between Peter, and senior female Dora, our little pack survived but, sadly, individuals were becoming more and more cautious through lack of a strong leader. Within a short time of Peter's death trust has further diminished, and the confidence of even the most outgoing seriously undermined.

The demise of our 'pack' following the loss of their leader, closely follows
the patterns recorded in the wild on wolves. The trauma caused by the death of an
alpha member has been known to throw the pack into such turmoil that it has never

Despite domesticity and the fact that our Dingoes are regularly taken out walking and
handled by members, we are seeing a similar tragedy unfolding here, and we
only hope that in understanding the situation, we can now take· steps to support our
friends through this traumatic period.

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