School of Health Sciences
Zoo and Wildlife Biology
Conservation, Endangered Species, African Wild Dog, Human Conflict, Threats to Survival
Animal Studies | Zoology
Valdes, Alexis, "Painted Ferocity: The Social Behaviors of African Wild Dogs, Threats to Survival, and Resulting Conservation Initiatives" (2018). Senior Honors Theses. 811.
African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) are an endangered species of canid from Sub-Saharan Africa. They are very social communal hunters, and are capable of chasing down prey for long stretches of time. Wild dogs benefit a savannah ecosystem by regulating the populations of their prey so that it does not become unhealthy and overgrown. Like many organisms, wild dogs are also in competition with other predators for resources, namely lions and hyenas, who are capable of stealing their kills and occasionally injuring and killing them. Due to the depletion of their wild prey, wild dogs may also prey upon farmers’ livestock, which puts the dogs at risk of being shot or poisoned by humans. Domestic dogs can also transmit deadly diseases to wild dogs, hindering their chances of survival. Conservation efforts are focused on educating local populations on the ecological importance of wild dogs as well as cooperating with local communities to implement traditional methods of livestock husbandry to reduce rates of livestock predation by wild dogs. Conservationists have also been attempting to vaccinate packs who are at risk of contracting diseases like rabies, as well as reintroducing groups of dogs to areas they once resided in the hopes of re-establishing small populations. It is crucial that these animals are protected so that future generations can learn about their behaviors and so be motivated to conserve them.