Photo of the Day #16: African Wild Dog

View Images

I have never heard sounds come out of a dog like the kind that I’ve heard out of a pack of excited African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), the individual pictured above being a member of a large group kept at the WCS-run Bronx Zoo. While their species once ranged over 39 countries and their numbers were estimated as being as high as 500,000, today there are only 3,000-6,000 individuals left in a handful of countries, pressure from predator competition, disease, and killing by farmers/livestock owners make life very hard for these unique dogs. Indeed, they differ from all other known canids in lacking a dewclaw and they each have their own tell-tale color pattern (one of their other common names is the Painted Dog), their bite force in comparison to their body mass being found to be the highest among the living members of the Carnivora.