Colours of Wildlife: African Wild Dog

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The Return of The Unmentionable Marauding Pillowcase is a wildlife artist based in South Africa. He says "My aim is simply to express the beauty and wonder that is in Nature, and to heighten people's appreciation of plants, animals and the wilderness. Not everything I paint is African! Though I've never been there, I'm also fascinated by Asia and I've done paintings of Asian rhinos and birds as well. I may in future do some of European, Australian and American species too. I'm fascinated by wild things from all over the world! I mainly paint in watercolours ... but actually many media including 'digital' paintings with the computer!"

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dogs are some of the most endangered predators in the world, as a result of habitat loss, direct human persecution, and diseases transmitted by domestic dogs. In the past they were frequently seen as cruel killers. They are indeed highly specialised carnivores; with an average of 80% of chases ending in a kill, they are the most efficient of all Africa's large hunting mammals. They also have an amazingly powerful bite. But they are in certain ways very vulnerable. They can only function effectively in sizeable packs and need very large hunting territories. They also face competition from other large hunters like lions and hyenas. Small populations or packs can be reduced below viable numbers by disease outbreaks. As such these unique dogs are very dependent on our conservation efforts.

It has been suggested that these dogs, rather than being called 'Wild Dogs' (which may cause confusion with feral domestic dogs, and also carries some prejudicial connotations), should be called 'Painted Dogs' instead – this referring to their mottled coats that are unique for each individual. Well, mine would then be 'Painted Dogs' in more than one sense!

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