We headed of to Zimbabwe to see the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). We arrived late at night to the town Hwange where we met a lady with her young girl. She kindly showed as a hostel where we could stay. Unfortunatley, it was full and it was pitch dark out side. The friendly lady then invited us home to her family.While we watched Jean Claude Van Damme kick 100′s of people s faces and drank orange juice with the family in a narrow room, she made our beds on the floor for us where we could sleep.
The wild dog is called in English ” the painted dog ,” and according us , it would be more accurate to call it the ” painted wolf “. Atleast it would avoid the misunderstanding that is commonly made. It’s mistaken by people that they are feral domestic dogs who adapted themselves out in the open, like the dingos in Australia. The African wild dog is in itself really is not related to the dog at all and is not possible to crossbreed with any other canid (dog animal). The name gives it therefore an undeserved bad reputation that it initially does not belong in the wild and that it does not matter important role in ecology. Apart from its role as an umbrella species, the African wild dog is actually important for many antiloparters survival.
But wait a second..(you might think)? The painted wild dogs are eating antelopes!? Almost 100% of their diet consist of antelopes, and one may thing this must affect antelope populations negatively?
While this is true, the painted dog hunts mainly generalist species which are common such as kudu, impala and duikers . For the painted dogs in Hwange, this represents 93% of the wild dog’s diet. This provides room for more specialized antelope species and increases the diversity in the area .