Monday, May 28, 2012

African dogs and the wild in all of us


African wild dogs are less related to domestic dogs than domestic dogs are to grey wolves. African wild dog packs can be quite large, like grey wolves. Both wolves and wild dogs need a large territory to find enough prey, so sometimes they stray onto unprotected land owned by people with livestock and are killed. Wolves in Montana roam onto private lands like wild dogs in Africa roam onto private lands. Grey wolves have strong holds in Canada and Alaska to help out the overall strength of the population while wild dogs don't have such a luxury. They're an endangered species. Wild dogs are often confronted by hyenas and lions, who will kill the pups if given the chance, but wolves don't have these types of predators to fend off. A wolf pack can handle a bear, since bears usually travel alone, while lions often have large prides. The population of domestic dogs is perhaps close to a billion, world wide, but the wild dog population is between 3 and 6 thousand. So maybe we should wish some of the good fortune domestic dogs have onto wild dogs, and root for the wild in all of us.