African wild dog, fill a similar niche in Africa that the wolf does in much of the northern hemisphere. Hunting as a pack, and running greater prey down until exhaustion...
African wild dog
Whether there were originally multiple African wild dog subspecies, these have not been retained. There were once 500,000 wild dogs roaming Africa. There are currently just 6600, spread across Africa, though many of the populations are unlikely to be genetically healthy long-term.
The Kruger wild dog population swings between extremes. In 2007 there were about 350 within the Limpopo transfrontier park. in 2022 there are thought to be about 800 wild dogs in the same area.
The Serengeti wild dog population disappeared during 1995 – wild dogs are highly sociable animals, so illness can wipe out populations. Wild dogs appear to have help on and there are thought to be about 120 at the moment. Inoculation of the domestic dog population surrounding the park will hopefully stop this happening again, and the population will grow back to the former highs -where packs 100 strong could be seen chasing the Wildebeest migration across the plains.
The largest single population lives in the Selous reserve (much of this reserve is now classed as the Nyerere national park) with a population of perhaps as many as 1000.
There are thought to be about 700 wild dogs in northern Botswana.
There are small populations all over Africa, such as 100 in Chad, but whether these survive long-term is another question. The map below shows the huge number of small populations all over Africa. The total african wild dog population is thought to be around 7000, with 700 packs.
There are 5 subspecies that have been recognized:
- Cape wild dogs
- East African wild dog
- West African wild dog- The West African wild dog used to be widespread from western to central Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria. Now only two subpopulations survive: one in the Niokolo-Koba National Park of Senegal and the other in the W National Park of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. It is estimated that 70 adult individuals are left in the wild.
- Somali wild dog- The Somali wild dog is thought to be extinct in Somali, though some are thought to survive in Ethiopia.
- Chadian wild dog- The only part of this population that lives on protected land, are found within the Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park in the Central African republic.
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