The Endangered – African Wild Dog

By Victor Ayaay, Youth Manager

De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre, Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa by South African Tourism
De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre, Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa by South African Tourism

The African Wild Dog is definitely not a ‘friendly dog’. These wild canines that have been endangered for more than 20 years are one of the most endangered mammals, as less than 7,000 of them remain in the wild. The African Wild Dog typically lives up to 12 years, and grows to be 60 pounds and around 35 inches. Strangely, they have four toes on their feet instead of the normal five. With spots and white, red, black, brown, and yellow fur, you would never find one African Wild Dog identical to another. These Dogs like to be social and live in packs with up to 40 dogs in it. They live in Africa, especially around Southern Africa.

Why they are important: Every single organism is part of a specific food web and plays a valuable and significant role in balancing the population of anything else in the ecosystem. African Wild Dogs, being carnivorous, are included in this ecosystem, as they eat specific animals to make sure the food web doesn’t become unbalanced. If these canines become extinct, who knows what will happen to the savanna ecosystem which African Wild Dogs are a part of. African Wild Dogs also are very beautiful; they’re social, they care for one another, and they vocalize well with one another. They would be a shame to lose.

Why they are going extinct: The main reason African Wild Dogs are going extinct is simple, humans. Dogs hunt in packs and prey on domesticated animals. This results in humans killing the packs to protect their livestock. This happens especially when African Wild Dogs attack agriculturally dependent humans, like farmers. Humans also give less space to African Wild Dogs than they actually need in order to thrive. Another big cause of the endangerment of these cannines is diseases. Diseases transferred by other animals, humans, or insects can be deadly for African Wild Dogs.

How we can help:

  1. Donate to charities that work to ensure the safety of African Wild Dogs, like the African Wildlife Foundation. Donations help foundations to protect African Wild Dogs.
  1. Tell anyone that if they are touring Africa, instead of killing an African Wild Dog if it looks like it wants to attack you, just simply run away. Help make sure that no humans accidentally kill African Wild Dogs.

 

Want more of The Endangered? Check out the growing list of articles on our Wildlife page.

Sources:

National Geographic

African Wildlife Foundation

World Wildlife Fund

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