Perhaps the most successful hunter in Africa, the African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, ironically finds itself on the brink of extinction. Part of the Canidae family, and sharing a general similarity with the various canids worldwide, the African wild dog differs fundamentally from other canids: it belongs to the genus Lycaon, which formed a new branch on the family tree some 3 million years ago and subsequently evolved independently. Today it is the only survivor of this unique line and, because of its genetic difference, is unable to interbreed with any of its canid relatives or even with the domestic dog.
Previously found in diverse habitats across the continent, it has tragically disappeared from much of its former range. Today there are only an estimated 3000 to 5500 wild dogs left in the whole of Africa, a mere 500 of which occur in South Africa. This book is a photographed and well-documented tribute to these rare and endangered animals, covering their history, biology, distribution, habitat, and breeding and release programmes.