African wild dogs

Guests staying at Pondoro on the 29th of September 2015 were extremely lucky to see a small pack of African wild dogs consisting of 3 adult females and 2 youngsters. They normally den between May and July. African wild dogs produce more pups, 6 -16 than any other canid and the alpha female probably lost most of her litter. She would have stayed at the den site to protect the pups while the others would have gone off hunting. The rest of the pack would then return to the den site after a successful hunt to regurgitate the food to the eager pups and mother. It is very difficult for such a small pack to survive and due to the low number of participants during the hunt.

Youngsters would join the adults on hunts at between 2 and 3 months of age. They would be allowed to feed first at kills, but lose the privilege after a year.

The African wild dog ( Lycaon Pictus ) is a canid of the genus Lycaon which is distinguished from canis by its fewer toes and dentition. Only 1400 adults survive in the wild in Africa. The decline in numbers are due to habitat loss, human persecution and disease outbreaks. Conservationists are trying to promote the name Painted wolf due to the negative connotation with wild dog, but the name African wild dog is still the most widely used. The root word of Lycaon comes from Greek meaning wolf-like and Pictus being Latin for painted. Great name and a pity that it struggles to gain popularity.

Post by Robbie Prehn

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