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The African wild dog: The dwindling population of the defenders of wildlife

Posted on Thursday, 03rd Jul 2014

The African Wild Dog are known by many names including the painted dog or the Cape hunting dog. These names are but a few to describe the relatives of the fox and jackal. To this day, only between 3000 and 5000 of their kind are still in existence.

The Lycaon pictus (another name, scientific this time) stands at a height of only 3ft and, unlike other canine species, has only four toes on each foot. The fur of these animals are somewhat of a patchwork consisting of colors like brown, red, black, white and yellow.  Their  ears are large, round and bat-like, and their tails are white and bushy, which acts as a talisman (steering and balance mechanism) or connection to the pack while they are hunting.



No two African wild dogs are the same. Each has a distinct pattern on their fur


The pack leader has a monogamous relationship while other males are in the pack for protection. These dogs are highly intelligent and all rally around when new pups are born and take turns in nurturing and caring fo these newborns. Full-time babysitters if you will.



Wild dog pups


These animals are known to be social and highly intelligent. They communicate through touch and vocals which have been described as loud bell-like calls. These can be heard from distances to communicate with the rest of the pack. The pack also has unique greeting rituals.


Hunting is a big part of any animal and especially for those who live in the wild. The Mbwa Mwtu (Swahili name) is no exception to this and their prey can be anything from an antelope to the biggest wildebeest. They are known as the most efficient hunters with 80% being a kill. Their hunting rituals begin by forming a group circle, building up a team spirit until each animal is excited and ready to go. These foragers live a balanced life as they are not only carnivores, but enjoy an insect or two as well.



Wild dogs in pursuit of a zebra


With a life span of 12 years, these animals do what they can to try and survive. While when they hunt, they eliminate the aged and sick, these animals are immensely susceptible to disease unlike the domestic animal.


The species of the African Wild dog is one that is on the verge of extinction. In the hope of preventing this, conservations and organizations have been set up to try and preserve what is a dying breed.



To get involved and make a donation visit African Wild Dog Conservation, Zambia



Posted in Environment

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