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Southern Africa’s most endangered large carnivore and one of the most endangered carnivore species in the world, the Wild Dog, is the flagship species of the Carnivore Conservation Group. The Wild Dog has been the focus of a major long-term study programme in the Kruger National Park since 1989, sponsored by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. In 1997, a PHVA (Population and Habitat Viability Assessment) for the conservation of Wild Dogs was held in Pretoria and the Wild Dog Advisory Group (WAG) was formed as a result of this workshop.
Funding of the project: As is the case with most of the wildlife research projects this wild dog conservation programme is underfunded.
The African Wild Dog is a member of the Canidae (dog) family that form and live in packs by helping one another. The spotted pattern of the African Wild Dog is unique for each dog, much like the human fingerprint. The African Wild Dog is a member of the Canidae family that lives in the savanna and grasslands of Africa.
In addition to lions and hyenas, the African Wild Dog now faces another life-threatening species. The African Wild Dog (also known as the Painted Dog and the Cape Hunting Dog) is a medium sized species of canine found across sub-Saharan Africa.
The most distinctive feature of the African Wild Dog is it's beautifully mottled fur which makes this canine very easy to identify. African Wild Dogs are found naturally roaming the deserts, open-plains and arid savanna of sub-Saharan Africa where the range of the African Wild Dog has decreased rapidly. African Wild Dogs are highly sociable animals that gather in packs of generally between 10 and 30 individuals. In African Wild Dog packs, there is usually only one breeding pair, which are the dominant male and female members.
The African Wild Dog is a carnivorous and opportunistic predator, hunting larger animals on the African plains in their big groups. Due to the relatively large size and dominant nature of the African Wild Dog and their pack, they have few natural predators within their native habitats.
The long large intestine of the African Wild Dog means that they have a very efficient system for absorbing as much moisture from their food as possible.
African Wild Dog populations have been declining rapidly across the southern African countries mainly due to loss of much of their natural habitat and the fact that they are commonly hunted by farmers in particular. Today, the African Wild Dog is listed as an Endangered species as African Wild Dog population numbers have been rapidly declining, particularly in recent years. The African wild dog is an endangered species, with only four remaining populations in Africa, one of which is Kruger. Wild dogs have the most structured social order of the carnivores, living in packs led by a dominant male and female. Impala, the major prey species of the Wild Dog provide adequate food for adults and their pups. They are also grateful for other kinds of support such as sponsorship and wills, and you can learn more about this on their Support page.
They are also grateful for other kinds of support such as sponsorship and wills, and you can learn more about this on their Support page.


They are in danger of extinction because people kill them for attacking their domesticated livestock, and from diseases contracted from captive dogs. They are weak amongst carnivorous animals in Africa, sometimes losing their catch or even threatened for their lives by lions and hyenas.
The African Wild Dog is most easily identified from both domestic and other wild Dogs by their brightly mottled fur, with it's name in Latin aptly meaning painted wolf.
The fur of the African Wild Dog is red, black, white, brown and yellow in colour with the random pattern of colours being unique to each individual. It is thought that the African Wild Dog was once found in nearly 40 different African countries but that number is much lower today, at between 10 and 25.
After a gestation period of around 70 days, the female African Wild Dog gives birth to between 2 and 20 pups in a den, which she remains in with her young for the first few weeks, relying on the other pack members to provide her with food.
African Wild Dogs primarily prey on large mammals such as Warthogs and numerous species of Antelope, supplementing their diet with Rodents, Lizards, Birds and Insects. Lions and Hyenas have been known on occasion, to prey on African Wild Dog individuals that have been separated from the rest of the group. The slightly savage nature of the African Wild Dog has led to a great deal of superstition regarding it, with locals having almost wiped out entire populations in certain areas.
There are thought to be less than 5,000 individuals left roaming sub-Saharan Africa today, with numbers still declining. They will stuff themselves with food and then go back to the den to regurgitate the remains for the mother and her young to eat.The average litter size for the wild dog is between four and eight puppies.
Without funding this research project cannot continue which would be a major blow to the survival chances of the wild dogs in the wild.
African Wild Dogs are known to help fellow pack members in raising their children, sharing food, and helping the diseased and injured. The number of African Wild Dogs killed for attacking livestock and traffic accidents is increasing. The African Wild Dog is said to be the most sociable of all the canines, living in packs of around 30 individuals.
It is also thought to act as a type of camouflage, helping the African Wild Dog to blend into it's surroundings. Now most African Wild Dog populations are primarily restricted to National Parks across southern Africa, with the highest populations found in Botswana and Zimbabwe. They are the world's most sociable Dogs and do everything as a group, from hunting for and sharing food, to helping sick members and assisting in raising young.
The African Wild Dog cubs leave the den at between 2 and 3 months old and are fed and cared for by the entire pack until they are old enough to become independent and generally leave to join or start another African Wild Dog pack. They are even known to hunt much larger herbivores that have been made vulnerable through sickness or injury, such as Wildebeest. One of the biggest threats to the African Wild Dog are farmers that hunt and kill the African Wild Dog in fear that they are preying on their livestock. African Wild Dogs are therefore able to go for long periods of time without needing to drink.
Hunting, habitat loss and the fact that they are particularly vulnerable to the spread of disease by livestock, are the main causes for the continent's African Wild Dog loss.


A wild dog by itself is not that much of a threat to other animals, but a pack is a different story. Occasionally, they hunt at full moon.Wild dogs will fan through the bush looking for a herd of antelope. Once the animal collapses, the dogs immediately begin feeding, even before their prey has died from loss of blood.Unlike hyena, which feast noisily and chaotically, wild dogs are restrained and orderly at the kill. They suckle for the first three months of their lives before being taught to hunt.Wild dogs hunt every day as they require more meat relative to their size than lions do. Attempts are being made to improve the Wild Dog population in South Africa by introducing the dogs into other reserves and to managing these sub-populations as a single meta-population.
The African Wild Dog also has large ears, a long muzzle and long legs, with four toes on each foot.
African Wild Dogs require large territories to support the pack, with pack sizes having in fact dropped in number with their decreasing home-ranges.
Although the African Wild Dog's prey is often much faster, the chase can last for miles, and it is this Dog's stamina and perseverance that makes them so successful, along with their ability to maintain their speed. A drastic decline in their natural habitats has also pushed the remaining African Wild Dog populations into small pockets of their native regions, and they are now most commonly found within National Parks. Unlike many other carnivores, African Wild Dogs kill their prey by starting to bite it when it is still alive. Although the majority of the African Wild Dog population is today confined to National Parks, they tend to require much larger territories and come into conflict with Humans when they leave these protected areas. They are most commonly seen in the Chobe, Moremi and some in Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Kgalagadi.Wild dogs are masters of the collective approach to hunting. In spite of their ability to survive severe living conditions by helping one another, the African Wild Dog is now one of the most endangered animals in Africa. This is one of the biggest differences between the African Wild Dog and other canine species as they have five. A hunt begins at sunrise or sunset when the dogs perform an elaborate greeting ceremony, sniffing and licking each other, wagging their tails and twittering aloud.
Once they have located a herd, the most vulnerable member is singled out - usually a female and young antelope.A subordinate male wild dog usually starts the hunt by trying to isolate the animal from the rest of the herd. Each dog awaits its turn, and if there is not enough food to go round, the hunt begins again. African Wild Dogs lead a crepuscular lifestyle meaning that they are most active during dawn and dusk. The pack splits up during the hunt, with some dogs trying to drive the fleeing prey in a circle towards the others.



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