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Lycaon pictus - African wild dog
Range:  Southern Africa
Size:  50 lb (23 kg)

The African wild dog is the only living member of its genus.  Fossils of earlier Lycaon types have been found in Europe.  Lycaon has a very robust body build, with a broad head and large, rounded ears.  The teeth are also rather massive as compared to those of other canids.  The coat colouration is highly variable, and the complex pattern of blotches is unique in each individual.  Adult weight is usually about 50 lb (23 kg).

Photos © C. Campbell

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African wild dog - Image  C. Campbell
African wild dog - Image  C. Campbell

 
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The African wild dog is a highly social pack animal which lives in large groups.  Cooperation during hunting and feeding is quite refined, possibly more complex than in any other canid species, and aggression is uncommon.
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African wild dogs (pair) - Image  C. Campbell

 
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Young are allowed to eat first.  Those still too young to venture from the den are brought food by the adults.  Even pack members who have sustained permanent injury and are unable to participate in hunting are allowed to feed following a kill.  The African wild dog is among the world's most efficient predators, with a 90% hunting success rate.
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African wild dog - Image  C. Campbell
African wild dog - Image  C. Campbell

 
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Today, packs of over two dozen individuals are rare, but in the past, before habitat loss and
persecution by man had begun, packs of over 100 were well known.  Lycaon is now one of the most severely endangered of all canids.
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Photographs and other illustrations (where indicated) are © C. Campbell's NATURAL WORLDS.
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