As Human Population Grows, African Wild Dogs Plummet

November 14, 1997

A combination of a natural wanderlust and bad image among humans has driven African wild dogs from nearly two thirds of their original range. Their population in parks has plummeted to around 3,000 -- making them as endangered as black rhinos -- according to a recently released report by IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Authors Joshua Ginsberg of the Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, Rosie Wodroffe of Cambridge University and David Macdonald of Oxford University, found that even the largest parks can support only small numbers of wild dogs, which are distant relatives to wolves and jackals. Each pack uses up to 400 square miles, probably to avoid lions, which prey on both adults and pups, and can compete for the same prey species. In Kruger National Park in South Africa for example, just 400 wild dogs live within its 9,000- square-mile expanse.

According to the report, this tendency for the dogs to wander often puts them in contact with humans who have persecuted them since colonial days. Half the wild dogs found dead in reserves have been shot, snared, poisoned, or killed by road traffic. Wild dogs roaming outside of reserves meet up with domestic dogs where they fall victim to rabies and other diseases. Rabies has already caused the extinction of at least one wild dog population.

The researchers have proposed a series of conservation measures to ensure protection of the remaining population of African wild dogs. These include working with local landowners to minimize persecution and contact with domestic dogs. Inside protected areas and along their borders, the use of snares must be controlled, and new high-speed roads should be routed away from reserves.

"Wild dogs, more than any other species in Africa, show the difficulty of doing conservation in fragmented landscapes. Unless we are able to insure the integrity of Africa's protected areas, wild dogs will disappear from the continent. With the growing human needs of many African countries, balancing conservation of African wild dogs -- and other wildlife -- with development will be a real challenge," said Joshua Ginsberg .
Photos Available. Copies of the report available though IUCN publications service unit, 219c Huntington Road, Cambridge CB3 ODL, U.K. Fax: 44-1223-277175,

Wildlife Conservation Society

Related Conservation Articles from Brightsurf:

New guide on using drones for conservation
Drones are a powerful tool for conservation - but they should only be used after careful consideration and planning, according to a new report.

Elephant genetics guide conservation
A large-scale study of African elephant genetics in Tanzania reveals the history of elephant populations, how they interact, and what areas may be critical to conserve in order to preserve genetic diversity of the species.

Measuring the true cost of conservation
BU Professor created the first high-resolution map of land value in the United states.

Environmental groups moving beyond conservation
Although non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become powerful voices in world environmental politics, little is known of the global picture of this sector.

Hunting for the next generation of conservation stewards
Wildlife ecology students become the professionals responsible for managing the biodiversity of natural systems for species conservation.

Conservation research on lynx
Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes.

New 'umbrella' species would massively improve conservation
The protection of Australia's threatened species could be improved by a factor of seven, if more efficient 'umbrella' species were prioritised for protection, according to University of Queensland research.

Trashed farmland could be a conservation treasure
Low-productivity agricultural land could be transformed into millions of hectares of conservation reserve across the world, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Bats in attics might be necessary for conservation
Researchers investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats in Yellowstone National Park.

Applying biodiversity conservation research in practice
One million species are threatened with extinction, many of them already in the coming decades.

Read More: Conservation News and Conservation Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to