Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are sometimes called painted wolves

Biology: African wild dogs are wide ranging pack animals occupying habitats such as grasslands, semi-arid areas, bushy savannah and upland forests. They mainly hunt small-medium sized antelope, such as impala, however in some areas smaller prey such as steenbok and warthog make up their diet.

Wild dogs are co-operative breeders. The dominant male and female have a life-long pair bond and are typically the only breeding animals in the pack. Subdominant pack members help raise offspring by regurgitating meat from hunts, babysitting and through anti-predator behaviour. Wild dogs will raise pups at a den before they are able to travel with the pack, and once mobile the whole pack will travel, rest and hunt together.

Red list category: Endangered

Threats: There are approximately 6,600 adult African Wild Dogs remaining in the wild, with populations continuing to decline due to conflict with humans. Populations have greatly decreased in North, West, North-east and Central Africa, with most of the population being restricted to Southern Africa. This decline is largely due to their wide ranging behaviour coupled with habitat loss bringing them in frequent contact with humans and livestock, resulting in human persecution in defence of livestock and spread of disease. African wild dogs are also accidentally killed in snares and in road collisions.

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