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The African wild dog

19 February 2014

www.leopard.tv

The generic name Lycaon of the African wild dog Lycaon pictus is derived from the Greek word lykaios which means wolf-like. The name pictus is based on the Latin word picta for blocked or spotted. Therefore the name Lycaon pictus means a wolf-like wild dog with a blocked coat. Sometimes it is also known as a Cape wild dog or the painted wild dog because of the yellow, white and black blocks on its coat. For this reason it has also once been known as the tri-coloured wild dog Lycaon tricolor.

Doglike animals, which includes the wolves, jackals and foxes, occur in most parts of the world and the African wild dog is the southern ecological equivalent of the more northern wolf. However, the wolf has a longer nose and smaller ears than the African wild dog. The wild dog’s hunting behaviour once led to its absolute condemnation. Currently, however, it has become sought after by tourists and its presence is also considered to indicate a large, intact ecosystem. There are presently at least 11 programmes in South Africa which aim to breed African wild dogs in captivity for their relocation as populations in the wild... (Become a subscriber for more)

References:

Bothma, J du P and C Walker 1999. Larger carnivores of the African savannas. Pretoria: J L van Schaik, pp 130 - 157.

Skinner, J D and C T Chimimba (eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 474 - 480.

Turner, A 1997.The big cats and their fossil relatives. New York. Columbia University Press.

Wozencraft, W 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D E Wilson and D M Reeder (eds), Mammal species of the world – a taxonomic and geographic reference, third edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p 581.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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