MammalMAP: African Wild dogs
African Wild dogs or Lycaon pictus (stemming from the Greek word for ‘wolf’ and the latin word for ‘painted’) are the only canid species to lack dewclaws on their forelimbs. Africa’s largest canid – an adult weighs within the range of 18 – 36 kgs.
African Wild dogs form packs that on average consists of 7 – 15 members. Before the recent decline in the population, packs consisting of 100 members have been recorded. Animals within the pack have a unique social concerns and structure – from cooperation during hunts to regurgitating food to feed the young, sick, elderly or wounded.
Typically, wild dogs feed on ungulates that are often twice their body weight. The hunt is lead by the alpha male usually in the morning or early evening. Wild dogs locate prey by sight and pursue it in high speed chases that can reach 55 km/hr until the prey is exhausted.
The IUCN has listed African Wild dogs as an endangered species since 1996. The decline in population size has been attributed to shrinking habitats, conflict with livestock and game farmers, road accidents and infectious diseases.
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