Help Save the World from Extinction Starting with the African Wild Dog! by: Jada Coley

An endangered species is a species plausible to be extinct in the future. According to NPR (National Public Radio), “1 million of the 8 million (8.7 million to be exact) species are endangered.” Additionally, 1 million animals are abused each year. According to the Humane Society, “the most common victims are dogs with Pitbulls at the top of the list.” Dogs and other household animals are abused worldwide each day. Some people breed dogs to make money or for baiting. Baiting is a blood sport where dogs are anguished, such as being pitted against each other (dogfighting). 

Society as a whole often treats the world for selfish gain. For example, people like to cut down trees, but they don’t understand that the trees provide us oxygen, purify the air, contribute to the water cycle and climate change, provides wood and food, makes the environment cool, gives shade and shelter, gives us medicine, protects wildlife, and so much more. Without trees, we would not be able to survive on Planet Earth. Another example of selfish human behavior can be found in animal extinction. Animal extinction can be due to illegal poaching, habitat destruction, overharvesting, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species. One very important endangered species in Africa is called the African Wild Dog.

The African Wild Dog is known as the hunting dog or the “African Painted Dog.” They have a kaleidoscopic patchy coat, large bat-like ears, and a thick tail with a white tip that distinguishes another wild dog. Their scientific name is Lycaon Pictus and they live up to 10 to 12 years. The Wild Dog habitat consists of dense forest to open plains. African Wild Dogs usually live in packs of 7 to 15 members, but they can grow to up to 40 members. These packs are very social which is why they stick together at all times. Wild dogs are also very vocal; they have a scale of expressions including “a short bark of alarm, a rallying howl, and a bell-like contact call,” that can be heard over long distances. Since wild dogs are very social, when they have puppies everyone in the pack takes care of them. They also have very diverse tastes when it comes to their prey. According to awf.org, “They hunt for a variety of prey, including gazelles and other antelopes, warthogs, wildebeest calves, rats, and birds.” They eliminate the sick weak animals from the packs improving the prey species. They can also run long distances of up to 35 mph, being the most efficient hunter of all carnivores. 

African Wild Dogs are not a danger to human society, though they are blamed when a cheetah or hyena kills a farmer’s livestock. Across Africa, farmers shoot and/or poison these wild dogs as a consequence of the actions of wild cats and/or hyenas. Wild Dogs are losing their habitats due to human-wildlife conflict. As the human population increases, the excess settlements are destroying the African Wild Dog’s space to live along with millions of other animals across the globe. There are millions of endangered species across the world that need help saving, but we cannot do it all at once. How about we start with the African Wild Dog? To fix this problem we should mitigate the human-wildlife conflict because humans are fixated on their crops and livestock. Due to their fixation, they are blinded by the fact that leopards are killing their livestock and instead are killing the wild dogs. The wild dogs only hunt weak antelopes, wildebeests, impalas, and other large mammals. The African Wildlife Foundation’s solution is monitoring the wild dogs and their movements so they can alert the farmers or herders when they are near. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, “They are being funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Dutch government employed 12 scouts from five neighboring communities.” These scouts monitor the wild dogs to protect them. If these scouts did not monitor the dogs, the farmers and herders would probably just continue to shoot and poison the wild dogs. 

The African Wild Dog has been endangered for over 20 years, yet there are only 6,600 remaining in the wild. It is up to us to save the world from extinction one species at a time. According to worldwildlife.org, “The wild dog is one of the world’s most endangered mammals.” So, I have decided to create a fundraiser to help support, protect, and save the African Wild Dog species. Take a moment to think about the world around you – do you like the world you live in? Ask yourself why the world you live in today is so detrimental to other species? The answer to that question is because many of the people who walk the earth today only care for themselves and not the environment that takes care of them on a daily basis. Society lets greed take control of them instead of doing what is right. But, we can change the view of the world starting with the African Wild Dog. As we save every species one by one, we are changing the future of the world. Help me make our world a better place. To find out more information, please explore the links below.

https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/african-wild-dog

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/african-wild-dog

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