The Rarest Wild Dog in the World, the African Wild Dog
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The Rarest Wild Dog in the World, the African Wild Dog

There are estimated 3000-5000 African wild dogs alive today, making them the rarest wild canine in the world.

The African wild dog is a large-sized canine, which can only be found in Africa. These dogs are seen roaming in the savannas and lightly wooded areas of Africa. There are estimated 3000-5000 African wild dogs alive today, making them the rarest wild canine in the world, and placing them on the endangered animal list. The large majority of African wild dogs are found in zoos or in wildlife reserves.

African wild dogs behave very much like the wolves in North America or the dingoes in Australia. They live in packs, which usually contain 10 to 12 adults and around 14 pups. Only the alpha male and female will breed, but the whole pack will help raise the pups. The packs are very family oriented and over time will branch off to create new packs. Dominance fights in the pack never end in bloodshed, and rarely does one wild dog kill another. Even when one of their pack is sick, weak, or old, the rest of the pack will protect and feed them. However, while the rest of the pack is out hunting the ones that stay behind have to watch and protect the pups. African wild dogs have the strongest bite of any canine; their bite is equal to a hyenas bite in strength.

African wild dogs are carnivores that rarely hunt alone. The most commonly hunt gazelle, warthogs, baboons, zebras, impala, wildebeest calves, giraffe calves, livestock, and ostriches. When they hunt, the pack will disembowel their prey. One of the alphas will grab the animal by the nose; another member of the pack will grab the animal by its tail, while the rest of the pack disembowels the struggling beast. African wild dogs are so skilled at hunting they have a success rate of 80 percent, much higher than lions whose success rate is around 30 percent.

African wild dogs have few predators. Lions will occasionally kill them if they get too close to their pride or in a fight for a kill. Strangely, lions do not eat them after they kill them, but leave their dead corpse for other scavengers to consume. Crocodiles prey on African wild dogs any chance they can, and Hyenas kill many in altercations over kills. However, the biggest predator and the major reason African wild dogs are endangered is humans. In the late 18th century there were over 500,000 African wild dogs living in Africa, but due to humans hunting them unmercifully their numbers have dwindled to near extinction. A few of the African wild dogs have been killed in protection of livestock, but the vast majority were killed for sport.

African Wild dogs are beautiful canines. Each dog has their own unique marking and patterns on their coat. They are medium to large canines, standing 24-30 inches tall and weighing between 40-80 pounds when full grown. African Wild dogs are very important part of their eco-system and although they are now protected, it may simply be too late. If this amazing species goes extinct, the planet Earth will be poorer indeed.

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