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African wild dog conservation
Hello, I'm Dr. Mike Bridges with the AWDC (African Wild Dog Conservation). I specialize in the whereabouts of Lycaon pictus, or more commonly known as the African Wild Dog. For years this species has been killed by wildlife managers, due to the fact that their method of killing prey was portrayed as cruel. But now with the help of supporters, and other conservation organizations like us, we have been able to save this species from extinction. Although it is still on the endangered species list, I have high hopes that this animal will make a strong come back in Africa.
Our current project is designed to implement management strategies developed from the previous research and to conserve a large population of African wild dogs in eastern Zambia. This will be achieved through continued research and improving the connectivity between the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa National Parks, to form a 'metapopulation' of wild dogs. AWDC will work with the following key goals: Conservation, Applied research, and Capacity building and Education.
Another project that AWDC has been working on is monitoring certian African wild dogs that have been captured, or that were released back into their natural habitat. We do this by fitting them with special collars that we can track. By tracking them we can learn a great deal about how they live, what they eat, what other animals they compete with, and much more.
One adaptation of the African wild dog is that they only have four toes on each foot. This makes them faster runners, therefore it is easier for them to catch their prey. Another featurethey haveis their coat pattern. It provides camoflauge against their enviornment, making it easier to catch prey and to hide from potential predators. In adittion to those adaptations African wild dogs live in packs, with an alpha male and female. Only the alpha mates reproduce, having from 2-20 pups in a single litter. After they are born the entire pack cares for them, and hunt for them. Also having adapted to their enviorment, African wild dogs are very nomadic. When not during the denning period, they can roam up to1,500-2,000 km away from their origional home. Doing this gives them an advantage in their diet, being as though they will almost eat anything meat anyway.
African wild dogs live in a range of habitats including semi-desert,short-grass plains, bushy savannas, and upland forests. It only lives on the continent of Africa.
The IUCN classefies the African wild dog as Endangered, since1990. It began on the list as vulnerable from 1986-88. Then in 1990they became endangered, and are still to this day.
Humans have had a critical impact on the animals, because wildlife managers began to kill them off in the earlier part of the 20th century. This was happening because thier hunting/killing method wasportrayed as cruel. Also the African wild dog has to compete with other larger carnivores, such as lions. Something else the dogs have to beaware of is roads. More than half ofthe recently recorded deaths are from cars.
The plan to bring this animal back from being endangered is to educate people about them, to pass more extreme laws to punish people who kill them purposefully. And to rehabilitate some of the captured dogs and reintoduce them into the wild.
Kingdom: Animalia- The taxonomic kingdom comprising all animals.
Phylum: Chordata- The phylum comprising the chordates.
Class: Mammalia- The highest class of the subphylum Vertebrata comprisinghumans and all other animals that nourish their young with milk secreted by mammary glands, that have the skin usually more or less covered with hair, a mandible articulating directly with thesquamosal, a chain of small ear bones, a brain with four optic lobes, a muscular diaphragm separating the heart and lungs from the abdominal cavity, only a left arch of the aorta, warm blood containingred blood cells without nuclei except in the fetus, and embryos developing both an amnion and an allantois, and that except in the monotremes reproduce viviparously.
Order: Carnivora- The order comprising the carnivores.
Family: Canidae- A cosmopolitan family of digitigrade carnivorous mammals that includes the wolves, jackals, foxes, coyote, and the domestic dog.
Genus: Lycaon- Greek for painted
Species: pictus- Greek for dog
The African wild dog only breeds the two alpha dogs in the pack. The dogs reach sexual maturity at 12-18 months old. Although they don't breed until much later. The youngest recorded birth was 22 months old. The pups are usualy born between the months of March and July. Litter sizes can vary from 2-20 pups, but the average is about 8. The pups remain in the den for three to four weeks, and once they come out of the den they are the responsibility of the whole pack.
The African wild dog eats mainly medium sized antelope, focussing on wildebeest,impala kudu,gazelles, and warthogs. But they will also settle for small prey such as hares, lizards and even eggs. They don't really have any predators excepthumans,lions and maybe heyeanas.