The African wild dog, also known as the African painted dog, is distinguished by its bushy white-tipped tail and colorful coat. It has conspicuously big, bat-like, ears, and each individual has its own marking pattern so that no two are exactly alike. 

Weighing in at around 40-70 pounds and a height of 30 inches, these highly social mammals take up space in the deserts, forests, and grasslands of southern and eastern Africa. Within packs, their home ranges can be between 200 to 2,000 square kilometers. Packs of African wild dogs are usually around 10 individuals but can get up to 40. These magnificent mammals have a unique social structure wherein they work together to care for the wounded, sick, and young of the pack. They are opportunistic predators that feed on other African mammals, such as gazelle, and prey hardly ever escape once chosen. Interestingly, each pack will have one dominant pair that is the only monogamous pair of the group! Further, contrary to many social animals, the females leave the pack they were born in rather than the males. 

With only around 1,409 mature individuals left in the wild, this species has been labeled endangered on the IUCN Red List with its primary threat being habitat fragmentation. Not only does this result in a loss of ideal living conditions, but it increases human-wildlife conflict and diseases are more prevalent. A large home range is needed for the success of this species, and the loss of their natural habitat is greatly influencing their survival. 

There are some solutions being put in place to help the African wild dog! Solutions include the construction of livestock enclosures and the monitoring of wild dog movements in order to predict their contact with humans. But, their survival could rely on large protected lands. With their large home ranges, conflict with humans arises when they leave designated protected areas. Raising awareness and promoting tolerance, coupled with large swaths of protected lands, would help rebuild African wild dog populations.