African wild dogs are among the most endangered carnivores in Africa, with only several thousand left. Because of their unique markings, they are also known as African painted dogs. The Savé Valley Conservancy in southeastern Zimbabwe is one of the last places they can roam freely. But it’s not just poaches that are a threat to their numbers.
It is estimated that about 6,600 adults (including 1,400 mature individuals) live in 39 subpopulations that are all threatened by habitat fragmentation, human persecution and outbreaks of diseases. As the largest subpopulation probably consists of less than 250 individuals, the African wild dog has been listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1990.
The African wild dog is the bulkiest and most solidly built of African canids.The species stands 60 to 75 cm in shoulder height, measures 71 to 112 cm in head-and-body length and has a tail length of 29 to 41 cm. The fur of the African wild dog differs significantly from that of other canids, consisting entirely of stiff bristle-hairs with no underfur.
African wild dogs are incredibly social creatures. Also known as painted dogs, they live in carefully organized packs in which each dog has a specified job, from hunter to pup babysitter. The dogs rely on each other and are one of the only wild species to care for their sick and old.