Africa is known for its beautiful landscapes and stunning resources, but most of all for its incredible wildlife. When it comes to amazing sightings, nothing beats the breathtaking view of the African wild dog.
This wild animal goes by a lot of names, but it is unfortunately becoming rare for some sad reasons. It is up to us to make sure that this creature is available for the next generation to enjoy. Keep reading if you want to find out more about one of the most unique animals on the African continent.
Discover The African Wild Dog
The scientific name for the African wild dog is Lycaon Pitus, which means “Painted Wolf”. However, this mammal is notorious for its many names, two of which are the Cape hunting dog, and the painted dog of Africa.
Most of the unique titles come from its irregularly mottled coat. The African Wild Dog is covered in patches of red, black, brown, and yellow all over its fur. This gives the dog its unmistakable features. Each dog’s pattern is unique, making it distinct from its counterparts.
Another incredible feature of the African Wild Dog is that these canines only have four toes per foot. This makes them different from other dogs who have five toes on their forefeet. The looks of these creatures only make spotting one more of a treat.
It’s not just the look of these dogs that makes them something you want to see, their habits and behaviour are simply extraordinary. They behave in a way that is foreign to most wildlife.
These dogs frequently live in packs ranging in size from seven to forty dogs. Before the recent issues with poaching, packs as big as one hundred were often recorded. Their social structure is something that has amazed people for many years.
We could all learn something from the way these dogs cooperate in taking care of their sick and wounded. and the way in which the dominant pairs in the group stay monogamous for life. These creatures promote a sense of community and love that any human society could benefit from.
The Problem Facing The African Wild Dog
This beautiful animal is a big part of some of Zimbabwe’s most popular tourist spots, like the beautiful Hwange National Park. Unfortunately, this precious habitat is not without its own issues.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has had major issues stemming the tide of poaching within this beloved park. Some of the best efforts to protect this dog haven’t worked, as wild dogs and other species frequently travel beyond the park’s borders.
Limited employment issues in and around Zimbabwe have only made the problem much worse.
Bush meat hunting has become an issue over the past few years as locals struggle to make ends meet.
Poachers commonly use wire snares, which kill anything that dares to get too close. Wild dogs are particularly vulnerable to injury or death because they cover a lot of ground while hunting. Even poisoned water that is meant for elephants kills many wild dogs a year. The problem is getting out of hand and is a threat to tourists and conservationists alike.
Further Threats To Survival
Being accidentally poached is not the only threat to the African wild dog species.
Unfortunately, these dogs are often hunted and killed by farmers who fear for their livestock.
Shrinking spaces are also a threat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that levels of African wild dogs are likely in irreversible decline. This officially puts the animals in the endangered category of African wildlife.
Monumental efforts like the Painted Dog Conservation have made significant progress in the fight to save the African Wild Dog. This model of conservation is quite different and employs local villages to run both the conservation programs and their education programs.
Packs in Hwange National Park are closely monitored and have seen a steady rise as a result. With help like this, this rare breed of dog will be around for many generations and will always be a part of Zimbabwe’s history.
Protect The Painted Dog
The African wild dog is truly one of Hwange National Park’s wild gems. It should be protected at all costs.
If you needed a reason, this is your sign to go and observe this magnificent beast firsthand. Come and see what the wildlife in great Zimbabwe has to offer. Book your trip for some Hwange adventures and experience the African wild dog up close and personal.