African wild dog / painted hunting dog / painted wolf / African painted dog
Endangered, with only 1409 mature individuals, and numbers are decreasing
The social structure of a wild dog pack is a fascinating, almost altruistic system. Like other pack animals there is a strict hierarchy, with an alpha breeding pair in charge of the group and the rest of the pack members are all subordinates. When a litter of pups is born, they take priority over even the alphas. At first pups are fed by the dogs regurgitating fresh meat after returning from a hunt, but once old enough, they are taken to the kill and given first choice over the spoils. The other dogs patiently wait on the side lines, standing guard until their turn to feed. They almost never fight amongst themselves over food due to this ranking system. When a dog becomes ill, injured or elderly restricting or even incapacitating their effectiveness as a hunter, the rest of the pack cares for and feeds them. Recently the alpha female of a pack in Botswana lost one of her forelegs during a hunt. For any other predator, this would be a death sentence. However, she remained the alpha female for a few years afterwards continuing to breed and raise pups while being looked after by the pack.
Human-wildlife conflict endangers African wild dogs.
Throughout Africa, wild dogs have been shot and poisoned by farmers who often blame them when a leopard or hyena kills livestock.
Wild dogs are losing their living spaces.
The principal threat to this species is habitat fragmentation, which increases human-wildlife conflict and localized, small population extinction due to epidemic disease. Larger populations have a higher chance of recovery from such outbreaks. As human populations expand, leading to agriculture, settlements, and roads, wild dogs are losing the spaces in which they were once able to roam freely.