Wild dogs are Africa’s rarest carnivore with only 4 toes on each foot. They are also called Cape hunting dog, painted dog or painted wolf. Wild dogs are very sociable creatures and live in very strongly bonded packs but have the distinction of a complete lack of aggression towards other members of the pack. The average wild dog pack consists of 5 to 8 adults with their offspring. The packs work well together and rarely display signs of aggression within the pack. They allow their young and sick dogs to eat first. It has been observed that each wild dog has a unique coat pattern.
The elusive wild dogs are highly energetic creatures who are almost invariably on alert. They are built for speed reaching a velocity of up to 60 kilometers per hour. However, Wild Dogs are among Africa’s most endangered mammal species. In fact, they are the most critically endangered predator with a total remaining population estimated to be less than 7 000. The wild dogs have been hunted and affected by the disease. Their main predators are the lion and the scavenging spotted hyena. Their preferred habitats are savannas and arid areas. They can also be found in woodland and mountainous habitats where their prey like antelopes live. Here are the best places to see the African Wild Dogs:
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal reserves in the world, located in the south of Tanzania. The reserve is a mixture of canopy forests, grassy plains, swamps, wetlands and woodlands, and a series of 5 interconnected lakes filled by the great Rufiji River. in 1982, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature. African bush elephants, black rhinos, hippopotamus, lions, Cape buffaloes, Masai giraffes, Plains zebras, crocodiles and the East African wild dogs are found in the reserve. The reserve is home to approximately 1,300 wild dogs who compete for food with other predators such as lion, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena. The Selous has the largest concentration of Wild Dogs in Africa and about one-third of the entire world’s population.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa which covers nearly 2 million hectares of protected areas. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. The Kruger National Park is the flagship of the country’s national parks and is known for its ultimate safari experience. Kruger supports packs of the endangered African wild dog, of which there are thought to be only about 400 in the whole of South Africa. It is also home to Africa’s big five and a whole lot other wildlife animals.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya. This National Reserve is famous for its exceptional population of Masai lions, African leopards and Kenyan cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest. Masai Mara is also a place to see the elusive African Wild Dogs. The wild dogs disappeared entirely from the Masai Mara in the early 1990’s and were presumed to be extinct. However, they started showing up again on Masaai lands ten years later. The genetic testing revealed that these dogs were from the same population as those that vanished from the park years before. A sighting of Wild Dogs is considered a very special and exciting experience in Masai Mara.
Selinda Game Reserve
The Selinda Reserve is a 320,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary in the Northern Botswana and is one of Africa’s great wildlife reserves. The Selinda Spillway area of the reserve is home to some of southern Africa’s biggest elephant and buffalo herds. Abundant wildlife is attracted to the vast floodplains and grasslands along the river. It’s also a stronghold of the endangered wild dog.
Hwange National Park
The Hwange National Park is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe. The national park is home to over 100 mammal species, including lion, leopard, and rhino. Hwange is also known for its large population of elephant and the Wild dogs. The population of the wild dogs in Hwange is thought to be of one of the larger surviving groups in Africa today, along with that of Kruger National Park and Selous Game Reserve.