As this animal nears extinction we explore their ecological significance. As the population of African Wild Dogs declines, there are questions and ideas that arise.
How does the presence of African Wild Dogs affect humans?
As a carnivore, African Wild Dogs ‘weed out’ sick or injured grazing animals. They also create competition with other carnivores making sure the best predators survive.
Negatively? Many believe that African Wild Dogs pose a threat to livestock, however, according to studies, African Wild Dogs rarely attack livestock.
Do humans benefit from ecological balance provided by African Wild Dogs?
Of course we do! It may not always be obvious but every day we live, we depend heavily on the balance of ecology for food, clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe. Remember, we are simply animals too!
How have humans contributed to the decline of the African Wild Dog population?
Domestic dogs (introduced by humans) have brought disease to African Wild Dogs. These diseases include:Rabies, Distemper, Parvo virus, Adenovirus or Infections Hepatitis, Coronavirus, Herpesvirus, etc. Some projects are advocating vaccinations for the wild dog populations to protect them from these diseases.
Traffic – an increasing number of African Wild Dogs are injured or killed by road traffic.
Direct persecution – to protect livestock, eliminate predators of wild ungulates so that humans have a better selection to hunt from, and hunting for sport.
Habitat Destruction – The biggest, most important, horribly devastating way in which humans negatively influence not only African Wild Dogs but all wildlife species!
What other factors contribute to the population decline?
- Competition with other larger carnivores.
- Limited food supply.
- Predation by lions and occasionally hyenas.
And finally what role does the SSP play in all of this?
Read about the African Wild Dog SSP Action Plan Goals