The African wild dog has long been considered a highly undesirable species and has therefore been fought to near extinction. Today we think differently about how to interact with fellow animals and see the African wild dog as the only African carnivore that is actually threatened with extinction. There are about 4000 wild dogs in total (2014) that roam mainly in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Wild dogs are currently the subject of animal conservation programs.
Features African Wild Dog
A wild dog is the same size as a German Shepherd Dog. It is an animal that lives socially. He has large ears and yellow, brown, and black spots for fur. Its tail is almost always white. The African wild dog hunts in packs. One encloses an animal in order to eventually catch it.
The dogs are fast and have great stamina. A hunt by a group of wild dogs rarely ends in failure, while lions and even cheetahs and leopards sometimes have to lose and temporarily acknowledge their superiority in a kudu, zebra, or impala, if these with their powerful hind legs make the predator a sell hard.
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Wild dogs hunt a wide variety of animals. The size of an animal is usually that of an impala and that includes a buffalo cub. The dogs can chase an animal for miles before proceeding to the actual kill. The animal that is victim will die quickly, faster than a lion because that animal already starts eating when the fallen prey is still alive.
The African wild dog hunts impalas, kudu, and wildebeest or blue wildebeest, but they can also kill a giraffe kill zebra. The wild dog is very persistent in its attack; this can take hours. His stamina is his strongest point, although he can also sprint and reach speeds of 60 km/h. If a wild dog has a victim on the ground, it dies faster than if a leopard or lion has captured an animal.
The wild dog begins to eat another animal while it is still alive, as does the lion. That is not really a pleasant sight for most safari-goers.
Sometimes wild dog hunts cattle. That is why he is hunted by farmers. As a result, the African wild dog is threatened with extinction. Estimates of its numbers range from 2,500 to 4,000. The African wild dog is Africa’s most endangered predator.
Wild dogs have a social life. A pack is grouped around one pair of male and female, male and female dogs. The remaining females carry out their task of taking care of the young of the dominant mother. The troop has a strong hierarchy. Some dogs may act submissive by begging for a share of the loot.
Wild dogs are nomads; they move from one place to another and have no fixed territory. That is why you can never assume that you will see these animals during a safari; it’s always a surprise. They live in a territorial context but their habitat can extend from 200km2 to 2000km2.
Of all predators, wild dogs are the most effective at hunting. In principle, they can attack and eat a leopard as a group, they are so strong together. A group of wild dogs can quickly consist of 15 to 20 pieces and no leopard can cope with that. All a leopard can do then is climb a tree; wild dogs can’t do that.