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The social behaviour of the African wild dog

9 June 2014

www.leopard.tv

In their social behaviour the dog-like animals or canids show a high degree of adaptibility and lack of specialisation with remarkably similar patterns despite being ecologically and morphologically diverse. This has allowed them to live in a wide range of habitats. Some of the canids, such as the African wild dog, live in packs, while others are almost solitary in their habits. The African wild dog forms a pack but it shows some specialisation in response to ecological conditions that is aimed at maintaining pack cohesion and to reduce aggression within the pack. The primary function of the pack of the African wild dog is to find sufficient food for the survival of all the pack members. To do so, it seems to be the only canid that kills large prey throughout the year. Moreover, cooperative hunting has developed to enable large packs to hunt successfully.

The pack is a cohesive, extended family group which hunts and travels as a unit. A dominant pair of adults determines the movements of the pack by direct leadership or by refusing to follow the lead of subordinate pack members. The degree of relatedness of dogs of the same sex is... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

References:

Bothma, J du P & C Walker 1999. Larger carnivores of the African savannas. Pretoria: J L van Schaik, pp 145 -150.

Skinner, J D & C T Chimimba (Eds). 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 475 - 480.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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