Year of 2017

African wild dogs in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Once distributed across the grasslands of Sub-Saharan Africa, these wild dogs are losing habitat at a rate fast enough that they’re now found mostly in the southern regions of the continent. African wild dogs form strong social bonds within packs, which, here in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, include four or five adult dogs and their pups. They’re cooperative hunters and are revered by the indigenous San tribe of Botswana for their skill.

The African wild dog, also known as African hunting dog, African painted dog, Cape hunting dog or painted wolf, is a canid native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the largest of its family in Africa, and the only extant member of the genus Lycaon, which is distinguished from Canis by its fewer toes and its dentition, which is highly specialised for a hypercarnivorous diet. It is classified as endangered by the IUCN, as it has disappeared from much of its original range. The current population has been estimated at roughly 39 subpopulations containing 6,600 adults, only 1,400 of which are fully grown. The decline of these populations is ongoing, due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution, and disease outbreaks.
Scientific name: Lycaon pictus
Max speed: 44.12 mph (71 km/h)
Biological classification: Species
Belongs to: Lycaon