Death is a part of wildlife too

A warning for our young and sensitive readers. This is a sad story about the violent death of a dog. Not a fun story.

This morning, some vultures started circling low around the open patch next to our house. And then some more. A Caracara showed up too. It disappeared and showed up again with some thready stuff in its bill. Something was going on.

Black vultures in a tree

When the vultures started gathering around a corner of the forest/garden of the neighbors, I remembered some awful barking and howling of the neighbors’ dogs two nights ago. There were three of them, one young, one adult (probably the mom) and one old. All three of them are super friendly. The young one and the adult are visiting us almost every day. They had barked some other nights, but this time it sounded a lot more vicious and this time there was some horrible crying in pain as well. After which it quickly became quiet. The morning after the barking, I went to have a look, expecting to find a dead animal. I was relieved when I didn’t find one, and yesterday the young and the adult visited us, as happy as we knew them.

Today, the vultures showed that I had not searched well enough. There was a big dog lying on the ground with its back towards me. It had some ruffed up patches of fur and it could have been sleeping. Except that the vultures were too interested and I started smelling something rotten. I am not sure it was the old dog that we had met, but it could be. It could have been a fourth dog that we had not met before. I am afraid not, though.

The young dog was patrolling around the dead and while looking up at the vultures, probably out of curiosity. She – we call her ‘little bugger’ – soon left, after which the vultures overcame their fear for me, if they had any, and went about their feeding business.

Cristina and I started thinking about what had happened. Was it the old one that we met? If so, what animal could have killed it? A puma or a jaguar? The possibility of a cat is big considering that about a week ago when the dogs were barking we had heard a growling behind the house. We won’t know, and it does not really matter. The story is posted here because also dogs being killed and eaten by vultures apparently is part of life here, or perhaps, wildlife here. The vultures are nice to look at when they do their daily soaring through the sky, but they wouldn’t do that if there was nothing to eat for them.

I just feel so sad for the dog.

PS. Obviously, it does matter somewhat what has happened. After all, if it was a predator then we should continue to be careful and then a bit more.

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