Confessions of an African Painted Dog
Africa Painted Dogs have been recently proclaimed as endangered. That’s why it was such an honour to have an opportunity to secure an exclusive interview with one of them.
Kindly Introduce Yourself
Hi! I am called an African Painted Dog, because obviously, you can find me and my species in Africa. Others call me African Wild Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, Painted Wolf, African Hunting Dog, and sometimes I’m also being called as Cape Hunting Dog.
How Were You Discovered?
My species are kind of old. The oldest fossil of my ancestor dates back to 200,000 years ago which was found in HaYonim Cave, Israel. Early writings about me thought that I was a hybrid of a Wolf and a Leopard because I look like a multi-coloured Wolf. Eventually, after years of studying my ancestors, these experts finally concluded that I’m from the family of Canidae like domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, and dingoes.
Could You Describe How You Look?
I am proud to be an African Painted Dog because we are the bulkiest and most solidly built of all African Canids. We stand 60 to 75 cm in shoulder height, 71 to 112 cm in head-and-body length, and we have a tail length of 29 to 41 cm. A male, such as me, can weigh up to 32.7 kg and our females are a little lighter weighing up to 24.5 kg.
We have a unique fur with extreme colour variations and because of this, we can identify our friends and family from 50 – 100m away. Our fur is mostly in yellow, grey, white, and black patches. No two of us are the same in terms of markings and colourations.
Tell Us About Where to Find You
As I mentioned earlier, I can be found in Africa. We usually hang-out mostly in the Savanna, and Arid Zones. We tend to avoid forested areas due to our hunting habits which require open areas so that there is not much obstruction when we pursue our dinner.
Could You Share with Us Your Diet?
Africa Painted Dogs like me have a hyper carnivorous diet which means a big percentage of our diet is meat. We prefer hunting Greater Kudu, Thomson’s gazelle, Impala, Bushbuck and Blue Wildebeest for our meals. But any other animal is also on our menu whenever they are available. By the way, we only eat what we hunted, no matter how fresh the food is, we do not eat what we did not hunt.
How About Your Behaviour?
I cannot be compared to your domesticated pet dog because I like to live wild and free. I usually hangout with family and friends in Packs. We stick together especially during hunting and we even have a democratic system of voting whenever we want to decide on things by sneezing. We are among the most effective predators in the world because we have extraordinary cooperation and teamwork as a pack to hunt our dinner.
How Do You Reproduce?
In a pack, there is usually a dominant breeding pair. They can be identified by their increased tendency to urine mark. We are monogamous for life which means we stick to one partner at a time. We prefer mating from January till May and we have 12 to 14 months of breeding interval. Considering that we are expected to live in this world up to only 10 years, we don’t have much opportunity to reproduce.
Do You Have Enemies or Competitors?
Yes, we do, in fact, we hate those Lions. They are the major reason for the loss of both our adults and pups. We also get frustrated with Spotted Hyenas since they always follow our packs just to try to take our food.
Is There Anything Else You Want to Share in this Interview?
Due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution, and disease outbreaks, we are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources since 2016. Our numbers are still on the decline and I don’t want our species to be extinct in this world.
I am calling out to your kind hearts to stop persecuting us and let us live our lives in the wild the way it should be and have been for many thousands of years…
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