The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
(Other Names: African Hunting Dog, Apeete, Cape Hunting Dog, Cynhyene, Eeyeyi, Eminze, Imbwa, Inpumpi, Kikwau, Kite Kya Negereni, Kulwe, Licaon, Liduma, Ligwami, Loup-peint, Lycaon, Mauzi, Mbawa, Mbwa Mwitu, Mbughi, Mhuge, Mulula, Muthige, Nzui, Omusege, Osuyiani, Painted Dog, Prude, Sudhe, Suyian, Suyo, Suyondet, Tri-colored Dog, Wildehond)
Although similar in appearance to hyenas, African wild dogs are nevertheless true wild canidae. They are a mixture of black, yellow, and white in such a wide variety of patterns that no two individuals look exactly alike.
Weight between 17 and 36 kg. Shoulder Height: 61-78 cm
Savanna, grassland and open woodland
Only an 4,000-5,000 in total, of which about 400 live in South Africa.
Africa south of the Sahara.
African wild dogs are the continent's most endangered predator. Population size is continuing to decline as a result of ongoing conflict with human activities, infectious disease, and habitat fragmentation. The most severe threat to the wild dog has been its mostly undeserved reputation as a voracious and indiscriminate killer of game and livestock, which has led to its persecution. In most of Africa, wild dogs are shot or poisoned whenever they are encountered. Another severe threat has arisen more recently: the wild dog's habitat has been shrinking as human populations expand. This leads the wild dog into increased contact with humans, their domestic animals and the diseases they carry; and an increasing number of roads bisecting its habitat threaten the wild dog with greater mortality from vehicles. The wild dog appears to be susceptible to many diseases, particularly canine distemper (introduced into East Africa in 1906), rabies and anthrax.
African wild dogs live in tightly knit social groups and hunt cooperatively, preying primarily on grazing animals such as gazelles, springboks, wildebeest and zebras. Most predators stalk or ambush their prey, but these animals make no attempt to hide. They simply approach a herd until it stampedes, then single out an individual -- usually one that's slowed by old age or disease -- and chase it until it's exhausted. African wild dogs use their sense of sight, not smell, to find their prey. They pay no attention to wind direction and they do not use cover when approaching their prey. They can run up to 55 km/h for several kilometres. In eastern Africa, they mostly hunt ThomsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gazelles, but they will also attack calves, warthogs, zebras, impalas, and the young of large antelopes such as the gnu.
The Shrinking Pack
African wild dogs were once common in virtually every environment in southern Africa except rain forests and deserts. But human encroachment has drastically reduced their range and their numbers. Because of land clearance, urbanization, and other factors, Africa's once-great herds of grazing animals are now restricted to scattered populations in parks and reserves. As their prey goes, so go the dogs. They are also widely regarded as pests; they've been poisoned, shot, and trapped in many areas. Perhaps their most serious threat, though, is introduced diseases. Burgeoning human populations have brought the African wild dogs into frequent contact with domestic dogs, many of which carry canine distemper and rabies. These diseases are ravaging the wild packs. This kind of contact is one of the less obvious ways that human populations disrupt wild populations.
African wild dogs have an unusual breeding system. Only one pair of dogs reproduces in a pack; other pack members act cooperatively to care for the young of the breeding pair. It has been said that African wild dogs are the most social of all mammals, never living apart from a pack at any stage in their lives.
Young wild dogs are adult at about 1 year, sexual maturity is attained between 12 - 18 months. The gestation period is around 60 - 80 days. There are 2 - 19 pups per litter, with an average of about 10. The time between births is usually 12 - 14 months, but it can be as short as 6 months if all of the young die.
Pups are born in a den, usually one dug by an aardvark. Weaning takes place at about 10 weeks. After 3 months, the den is abandoned and the pups begin to run with the pack. At 8 - 11 months they can kill easy prey, but they are not proficient until about 12 - 14 months, at which time they can fend for themselves.
Females between 14 - 30 months old leave the pack in which they were born in groups of sisters born in the same litter and join another pack that lacks sexually mature females. Most males do not disperse from the pack they were born in.
Kruger National Park seems to have 20 packs, which have ranges from 150 to 1110 sq km.
Natural causes (39%): Lion predation - 12%, hyena predation - 4%, other predation - 5%, other wild dogs - 5%, disease - 8%, accident - 6%.
Human causes (61%): Road kill - 24%, snared - 10 %, shot - 15%, poisoned - 12%, other - 1%.
: The photos from our trip! Overhere! Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c