species is considered endangered in Africa, despite
having large litters of up to a dozen. They are probably
killed as they move into inhabited areas, but anthrax has
also been responsible for their decline in numbers. Packs
of wild dogs wander continuously never staying long in
The Wild Dog has undergone a
dramatic recent decline in population to the stage that few countries
now support viable populations. Wild Dogs are still moderately abundant
in southern and eastern Africa.
Living in groups of 10 - 20 they are very
efficient hunters using the open plains or savannahs and
depend on their excellent eyesight and stamina to run
down their prey. They usually take the smaller antelope
but packs have been known to take animals as large as the
kudu or waterbuck.
pack has a communal breeding burrow and the whole pack
co-operate in bringing food which they regurgitate for
the young who first go through a begging ritual. There is
often a preponderance of male pups in a litter. They live
for 10 - 12 years in the wild. Wild Dogs live in socially complex packs
composed of several related adult males and one or more related adult
females originating from another pack. Often only the dominant bitch
will rear pups successfully.
Directed hunting is the
leading cause of decline. Wild Dogs are undeservedly perceived as
voracious killers of game and livestock. Disease including canine
distemper, rabies and anthrax have decimated many populations.
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 Thomsonís gazelles,
but they will also attack calves, warthogs, zebras, impalas, and the
young of large antelopes such as the gnu.