AFRICAN WILD DOGS
CALLING ALL DOG LOVERS
If you are a dog lover, it’s likely this African animal will become your favourite of our wildlife. Other than being home to the Big Five and many other incredible wildlife species, Africa is also home to the African wild dog.
The African wild dog is one of the world’s most endangered mammals, with only 1400 left in the wild. They used to roam across all of Africa but are now found mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are most often spotted in Madikwe Game Reserve, Chobe, Tanzania and northern Mozambique.
All of these places are home to efforts working towards the protection of the species. So, not only is a trip to southern Africa the chance to experience a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, it’s the chance to contribute to the protection of an incredible animal.
In order to raise awareness about the African wild dog, here are a few interesting facts about these wild canines:
1. Unique Social Structure
African wild dogs, like all pack animals, have an alpha breeding pair. However, when a litter of pups is born, they take priority over even the alphas. Wild dogs also care for and feed ill, injured, or elderly members of the pack who are incapable of hunting.
2. High Success Rate
Unlike lions who have only a 30% hunting success rate, 80% of wild dogs’ hunts are successful. Their success comes from their continuous communication and teamwork.
3. Unusual DNA
There only five subspecies of the African wild dog left – the Cape wild dog, the East African wild dog, the West African wild dog, the Chadian wild dog and the Somali wild dog. Despite sharing a common wolf ancestor from millions of years ago, their DNA is incompatible. Unlike domesticated dogs, it is impossible to crossbreed the different subspecies of wild dog.
4. Relationship Values
The alpha pair in the pack is monogamous. Unlike in other animal packs, the male wild dogs stay within their pack’s territory and the females travel to find mates. This is done to prevent inbreeding.
5. Unique Coat
Every African wild dog has a unique coat. Their scientific name Lycaon pictus translated from Latin means painted wolf. This is in reference to their mottled fur with black, white, brown and yellow colourings.