Why are African wild dogs endangered?


Quick Answer

Causes for the inclusion of the African wild dog on the endangered species list include accidents, disease, fragmented habitats and death by farmers who believe the animals threaten livestock. Most factors contributing to declining populations of African wild dogs are related to human activities and encroachment.

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Full Answer

Conservationists have developed strategies to save African wild dogs and increase their numbers by improving the coexistence of the animals and people, setting aside lands for wild dog populations and educating the public about wild dogs, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

African wild dogs live in packs in arid and savanna areas. They are members of the genus Canis, along with wolves and domesticated dogs. Unlike other similar carnivores, the females, not the males, disburse from the pack when sexually mature. There are five recognized subspecies of African wild dogs, including the wild dog of South Africa, the East African wild dog and the Somali, Chadian and West African wild dogs.

These animals' hunting habits involve stalking their prey and then running them down. Their favored prey is Thomson’s gazelle, but they also hunt wildebeest, ostriches, warthogs and other animals. The major wild predator of the African wild dog is the lion.

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