African Wild Dog

Emily, Snigdha, Sam

Names

Common name:

African wild dog


Scientific name:

Lycaon pictus


Description

Shaggy, patchy black white and tan fur, white plumed tail, long legs, lanky body, four toes on each paw, about 30 inches tall, dog like features. African wild dogs weigh between 55-70 pounds. They live 10-12 years. Their diet is carnivorous and their predators are humans. They have litters of 2-20. Each dog has a different patterned coat.


The African wild dog is important to its ecosystem because, like most other predators, it kills the weak and sick animals for food, thus maintaining the natural balance of the ecosystem. If it went extinct, the ecosystem would become unbalanced.

Adaptations

The African wild dog has many adaptations to help it survive. Its long legs allow it to run at top speeds of about 45 mph. In addition to its long legs, the African wild dog has excellent eyesight that helps it locate its prey. Its large, rounded ears are also an adaptation that helps the African wild dog to hear very well.

Habitat & Endangerment

The African wild dog lives in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa in dense forests and open plains. It can also be found in the savanna and in woodland and mountainous areas where prey resides. The dogs depend on antelope for food and on water for hydration, and they live on the open grasslands. The ecosystem they live in is covered in tall grass and some parts have trees and shrubs. They live in a grassland biome.


African wild dogs have been endangered for 20 years because of the growing human population in their habitat. Humans view the dogs as pests and kill them off to try to get rid of them. Because of this outrageous action, there are less than 6 thousand African wild dogs left in the wild. Compared to the some 300,000 estimated to have been living on Earth at one time, 6 thousand is a dangerously small number. African wild dog numbers are decreasing daily because they are being killed and their habitat is growing increasingly smaller.


Preventative measures taken

Organizations like World Wildlife Foundation have created areas of protection where African wild dogs can live and hunt in peace. Wildlife corridors have also been erected to create a safe way for wildlife to cross between dangerous hunting reserves.

Agencies, Organizations, & Foundations