African wild dog

85% successful kills! Yet irreversibly waning, it is among the most endangered canids in Africa


African wild dog

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85% successful kills! Yet irreversibly waning, it is among the most endangered canids in Africa

Population 6,600
50% decline since 2010

Climate change is devastatingly impacting African wild dogs, which are listed as endangered species. As temperatures rise across the continent, the animals are having difficulty finding food and are having to delay giving birth. This poses a serious threat to the pack’s survival, as their numbers are already low, and any delay in reproduction could put them at risk of extinction.

Present once throughout Africa; these wild dogs now have vanished from most of their range because of local tribes hunting them to protect their domestic animals and livestock. Moreover, their numbers are also decreasing because of the rapid habitat loss and their increased susceptibility to certain diseases like rabies and canine distemper. Conservationists have tried to raise awareness among local people, but it still needs more attention.

The largest of 39 populations has less than 250 mature adults out of 1400 mature individuals in total. Half of the approximately 5,000 specimens are in stronghold populations (Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa), and half are scattered elsewhere.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Algeria
2020
Presence Uncertain
Angola
2020
No data
Benin
2020
No data
Botswana
700
EN
2020
Burkina Faso
2020
No data
Burundi
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1976
Cameroon
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 2012
Central Af. Rep.
2020
No data
Chad
2020
No data
Côte D’ivoire
2020
Possibly Extinct
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2020
Possibly Extinct
Egypt
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Eritrea
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Eswatini
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1992
Ethiopia
2020
No data
Gabon
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Gambia
Official estimate
EX
Last sighting 1995
Ghana
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Guinea-Bissau
2020
Possibly Extinct
Guinea
2020
Presence Uncertain
Kenya
2020
No data
Malawi
100-200
EN
2018
Successful reintroduction
Mali
2020
Possibly Extinct
Mauritania
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Mozambique
600
EN
2019
Namibia
160-259
Official estimate
EN
2008
Niger
2020
No data
Nigeria
2020
Possibly Extinct
Rwanda
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
Senegal
2020
Studies needed
Sierra Leone
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1997
South Africa
550
Official estimate
EN
2018
South Sudan
2020
No data
Sudan
2020
No data
Tanzania
2020
Ambiguous data
Togo
2020
Possibly Extinct
Uganda
2020
Possibly Extinct
Zambia
2020
No data
Zimbabwe
160
EN
2022

Updates

Feb 2022:  The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) announced that it had launched a new project to protect African wild dogs in Tanzania. The initiative involves working with local communities to reduce human-wildlife conflicts and improve livestock management practices to prevent predation by wild dogs.

Dec 2021: According to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in South Africa, they successfully relocated a pack of African wild dogs to a new area to help establish a new population. The relocation was part of a wider effort to restore wild dog populations in the region.

Did you know?

  • The species is now considered to be endangered, and the current population is estimated to be around 6600 in 39 dotted subpopulations.
  • Recent phylogenetic analysis recognizes the African wild dog as a distinct clade that includes the dhole-Asian wild dog.
  • Their coat pattern and their footprints are unique to each individual, just like our fingerprints.
  • Lycaon pictus, the scientific name meaning “painted wolf,” refers to the animal’s uneven, mottled coat, which has splotches of red, white, tan, and yellow fur.
  • Contrary to most dogs, who have five toes on their front feet, African wild dogs have only four toes per foot.
  • With their cursorial ability and endurance in communal hunting, they can hunt prey much larger than themselves.
  • The 1991’s extinction of the wild dogs in the Serengeti was controversial; the much-debated hypothesis for this decline was that researchers’ interventions/handling (during research studies) caused outbreaks of disease induced by stress.

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Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No