Conservation Biology

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

African Wild dog are facing a threat of Extinction in Africa.

The African wild dog (Lycaona pictus) is facing threat in the African continent. It has been listed in the world conservation union (IUCN) as a red list of endangered species. It is regarded to be the most endangered carnivores in the African continent.[1] The African wild dog is a mammal of the cinadae family and is the only species in canid family that lack dewclaws. The African wild dog is related to the domesticated dog. [2]

The African wild dog is only found in Africa as the name is indicated. It mostly found in the savanna and woodland biomes. It has different coat patterns and this differentiate it to other animals. It has black, yellow, and white colour patterns. The wild dog preys, on medium size animal such as impala and antelope. They hunt in packs and they prefer to hunt in open space where they can chase instead of stealth like cheetahs. [1][2]

African wild dog are facing threat of extinctions due to habitant fragmentation by human. The threats are influenced by increase of human population that lead to the increase of forest clearing. The majority of African population depend on agriculture for their lively woods. They have livestock and small scale agriculture, which are encroaching on wild dog habitant. These encroachments are tending to limit the size of wild dog habitant it forces them to mix up with top carnivores (such as Lions, cheetahs and Hynes). This made it difficult for them to find prey; as a result, they have to move around to find food. [1][3]

These factors force them onto human dominated land. This is because the space for them to roam around is limited due to the encroachment by human. Farmers are encountering wild dog in their farms. They tend to defend the wild dog on preying on their livestock by killing the wild dog. These tend to be a threat that African wild dog face due to habitant and environment that they live in are destroyed. It also influenced by deforestation of the wild forest for agricultural practise. These problems have to be solved with better management strategies that can help to conserve the African wild dog. [1][4]

There is a need of conserving the land and wildlife environment for the future of wild species as a whole including African wild dog. There land that inhibit wild animal need to be conserved. For the conservation of African wild dog, they have to be moved to area that is protected in order to maintain the number of wild dog. [1]

The law enforced to monitor the protection of wild dog need to be broaden in order to conserve that population of wild dog and maintain the genetic variation. This can be done by zoning of lands to reduce the risk of crossbreeding of wild dog and domesticated dog. There must be monitoring programs that tracks the movement of the wild dog’s pack. This can be done by identifying the areas that there is large population of wild dog. This may also help to reduce the risk of human conflict by reducing husbandry practise and compensation for livestock losses due to wild dog predation. [1]


1. African Wild Dog Conservation: Internet [cited 2007 Mar 24]. Available

2. African Wild Dog: Wikipedia contributors. African Wild Dog [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2007 Mar 24, 09:54 UTC [cited 2007 Mar 24. Available from:

3. African Wild Dog Status Survey and Action Plan. (1997). Research and Monitoring: Information for Wild Dog Conservation: Internet [cited 2007 Mar 24]. Available from:

4. African Wild Dog Conservation: 2006 Internet [cited 2007 Mar 24]. Available from:
Mr Elelwani Muanalo
CSIR Pretoria
NISL- Ecological Informatics
P.O. Box 395
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: +27 12 841 2133

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"


  • Interesting topic,I agree with you that human encroachments are tending to limit the size of wild dog habitant it forces them to mix up with top carnivores (such as Lions, cheetahs and Hynes). As we, all know that Lycaon pictusis have no natural predators but forcing them with lions, leopard and hyenas together will worsen the situation. Competition is also one of the major threats to the wild dogs. Disease such as canine distemper and rabies threat to African wild dogs (Lycaon pictusis). Human got these diseases from the domestic dogs and brought it the wild dogs. These diseases can spread in the wild parks and destroy wild dogs. African Wildlife dog Conservancy dedicated to work with local communities, National and International stakeholders to save African wild dogs. The encourage people to volunteer to protect the wild dogs.

    By Blogger Masingita Lizzy, at March 28, 2007 10:07 AM  

  • Hi Ele…

    It is so interesting that the lycaona pictus is only found in Africa. It is however a problem that this African wild dog is facing a threat of extinction. Habitat fragmentation as a result of human activities is seen as the driving factor towards extinction. It is important that action need to be done as a matter of urgent. It is important to keep these species (lycaona pictus) in reserves or national parks to ensure that they are well protected from being killed by farmers and other people.

    You raised the issue that they need to be kept in conserved area to “reduce the risk of crossbreeding of wild dog and domesticated dog”, I am interested to know more on what happened after they cross breed, is the product become a domesticated or wild dog?


    By Blogger Lufuno, at March 28, 2007 10:16 AM  

  • this is an interesting topic. most people are not interested in animals especially wild animals. but most of the wild dog are killed by other are the stats which i found about wild dogs: Natural causes (80%): Lion predation - 31%, hyena predation - 6%, other wild dogs - 34%, disease - 8%, Human causes (20%): Road kill - 12%, snared - 8 % [1].
    it seems that human also causes the decline in the hnumber of wild dogs but not like other animals such as lions. natural causes is the cause of most of the wild dogs. so what can be done to reduce this decrease in the number of wild dogs? what can we do also to stop or reduce the natural causes which lead to the decrease number of wild dogs?


    [1]. Paul Massicot; Last modified:2005 Nov 26. [internet]. available from:

    By Blogger Lethabo, at March 28, 2007 11:27 AM  

  • Hi Ele, I have read and enjoy your article. The African Wild dog is endangered as you indicated in your article. The African Wild dog is listed as endangered since 1984. I like the fact that, you mentioned all the factors that lead to the African Wild dog to be listed as endangered.

    The African Wild dogs are still declining. The remaining threats to African Wild dog are diseases, hunting and poisoning. They also decline as a result of competition with other predators such as lions. Road contribute a lot more especially in protected areas (UNEP and WCMC).
    The African Wild dog prefers to live in a group of 10 to 15 including females, males and young with one dominant male and one dominant female.
    The African Wild dogs are gregarious animals.

    The conservation of African Wild dogs is taken serious by many different stakeholders , for examples, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) Canid Specialist Group develop a survey, conservation action plan and the Lycaon Action Plan for African wild dogs. The plans have a collection research for many years on wild dogs. The research has the management priority and outlines conservation for the species.

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), Wild Dog - Lycaon pictus.[Online].[Cited, 27 March 2007].Available from:

    EdV, The IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. [Online].[ Cited, 27 march 2007]. Available from:

    By Blogger linette, at March 28, 2007 3:52 PM  

  • It is true that the African Wild Dogs are facing extinction because at first they use to walk or hunt at a pack of forty members but currently their packs include seven to ten members only. The packs are dominated by more males than females, this is happening because females have a higher tendency of emigrating from their natural groups than males.

    They leave the natural pack mostly when they are about two and half years old to join other packs where there are no adult females. The males mostly stay with their father's packs. When they are within a pack they act as a family, they all cooperate in caring for the young ones or those who are sick or wounded.
    They have a very beautiful lifestyle and they need concrete conservation strategies as we cannot afford to loose these wonderful creatures.

    Canadian Museum of Nature, 2003.”African Wild Dog” [Online]. 2004 March 24, 14:27 UTC [Cited 2007 Mar 29]. Available From:

    By Blogger Dianah Nangammbi, at March 29, 2007 3:14 PM  

  • Hi all what a spectacular specie as well as endangered, we offer safaris to Hluhluwe Game Reserve and what a pleasure that we are fortunate enough to show visitors the Wild Dog. At present Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve has of the highest population of Wild Dog and with the new arrival of pups what an amazing feat for them. We have numerous pictures and video of Wild DOg on our site why not have a look

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