Scientifically referred to as Lycaon pictus, the African Wild dog is among the exciting wild game explored on Uganda Safaris and Tours in various protected areas across the country.
The African wild dog is known to thrive in the south of Sahara, recorded to be the largest among its family on the continent of Africa and the only existing member of the Lycaon Genus that is differentiated from the Canis by its fewer toes along with dentition which is highly customized for hypercanivores diet as often viewed while on safaris in Uganda Africa.
Standing as the largest among its family, the African wild dog rises to 60 – 75cm at the shoulder height and stretching to 20 – 25kg in weight in the region of East Africa though they can stretch to 30kg in South Africa. The females are about 3 – 7% smaller than the male counterparts. Its fur is majorly composed of stiff bristle-hairs and has no under fur. The fur is lost with age and the old African wild dogs can be almost naked.
African Wild dogs feature extreme color variation which also helps for visual identification because they can identify one another at a distance of 50 – 100 meters. The colors differ according to geography with those in the East Africa marked with majorly black with small white along with yellow patches as viewed on East Africa safari tours whereas the South African counterparts feature brighter coloring that includes brown, black along with white coats.
Regarding behavior, the African wild dog features strong social bonds than the spotted hyenas and lions and as a result they do not feature solitary hunting and living. They thrive in permanent packs of about 2 – 27 adults. The male and female African wild dogs feature distinct hierarchy dominancy with the oldest members in each sexes being leaders. However, some groups may contain very old members that were once leaders.
The gestation period of Africa wild dog ranges from 69 – 73 days and the pregnancy interval is majorly 12 – 14 months and it produces between 6 – 16 pups on each single birth which shows that each successful birth can generate individuals enough to form own pack. But due to food shortages, the breeding in the pack is often limited to the main female which can even kill the pups of the subordinates.
The African Wild dog feeds majorly on Thompson Gazelle but it as well hunts Impala, Kob, reedbuck, springbok and lechwe. Others include; Warthog, Wildebeest, duiker, Oribi, Waterbuck, Zebra, Grant’s gazelle, African buffalo mainly young ones among others. It thrives mainly in savannah areas and arid landscapes and would practically avoid areas with dense forests.
The African Wild dog is listed as endangered on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Travelers can gain chances of viewing the African wild dog while on a safari in Uganda to destinations like Kidepo Valley National Park among other savannah parks.