Conservation and Endangered African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Western Tanzania: A Call for Research and Action


  • P. Wilfred


 The African wild dog is among the most endangered carnivores. Yet, the remaining populations are small and patchily distributed as a result of factors like human persecution, poaching, diseases, habitat loss, loss of prey and competition from other predators. Regrettably, research has paid little attention to the effectiveness of local conservation measures in tackling these challenges in some small wild dog populations especially in east African ecosystems. This paper focuses on the Ugalla ecosystem of western Tanzania as it outlines the pressing conservation need to conduct research and explore the influence of anti-poaching patrols and participatory conservation on the prey abundance and habitat availability for African wild dogs. Wildlife poaching in Ugalla is likely to bring about local prey depletion. Furthermore, unsustainable agricultural practices, illegal settlements and logging are important causes of wildlife habitat loss. There is a critical need for wildlife researchers to address these challenges and put forth handy recommendations in the context of antipoaching measures and participatory conservation owing to the urgency of wild dog protection and the fact that the species is wide-ranging.   

Author Biography

P. Wilfred

Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology and  Environmental Studies, Open University of Tanzania


Bird Life International [BI], (2016). Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ugalla River Game Reserve. Downloaded from on 18/04/2016.

Buettner, U.K., Davies-Mostert, H.T., du Toit, J.T. and Mills, M.G.L. (2007). Factors affecting juvenile survival in African wild dogs Lycaon pictus in Kruger National Park, South Africa, J. Zool. 272: 10-19.

Carbone, C., Frame, L., Frame, G., Malcolm, J., Fanshawe, J., FitzGibbon, C., Schaller, G., Gordon, I.J., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Du Toit, J.T. (2005). Feeding success of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus in the Serengeti: the effects of group size and kleptoparasitism. J. Zool.266: 153-161.

Caro, T.M. and Stoner, C. (2003). The potential for interspecific competition among African carnivores. Biol. Cons. 110: 67-75.

Chatty, D. and Colchester, M. (Eds.) (2002). Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples: Displacement, Forced Settlement, and Sustainable Development. New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Courchamp, F. and Macdonald, D.W. (2001). Crucial importance of pack size in the African wild dog Lycaon pictus. Anim.Cons. 4: 169-174.

Creel, S. (2001). Four factors modifying the effect of competition on carnivore population dynamics as illustrated by African wild dogs. Cons. Biol. 15: 271-274.

Creel, S. and Creel, N.M. (2002). The African Wild Dog: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Creel, S.R. and Creel, N.M. (1998). Six ecological factors that may limit African wild dogs Lycaon pictus. Anim. Cons.1: 1-9.

Croes, B., Rasmussen, G. Buij1, R. and de Iongh, H. (2012). Status of the African wild dog in the Bénoué Complex, North Cameroon. eroon.pdf

Dalerum, F., Somers, M.J., Kyran E. Kunkel, K.E. and Cameron, E.Z. (2008). The potential for large carnivores to act as biodiversity surrogates in southern Africa. Biod. Cons, 17: 2939-2949.

Damm, G.R. (2008). Recreational trophy hunting: what do we know and what should we do? In: Best Practices in Sustainable Hunting – A Guide to Best Practices from Around the World. Baldus, R.D., Damm, G.R. and Wollscheid, K. (Eds.), pp. 5–11. The CIC – International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.

Davies, G. and Brown, D. (Eds.), (2007). Bushmeat and Livelihoods: Wildlife Management and Poverty Reduction. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and Zoological Society of London, UK.

Davies-Mostert, H.T., Kamler, J.F., Mills, M.G.L., Jackson, C.R., Rasmussen, G.S.A., Groom, R.J. and Macdonald, D.W. (2012). Long-distance transboundary dispersal of African wild dogs among protected areas in southern Africa. Afr. J. Ecol. 50: 500-506.

Emerton, L. and Mfunda, I. (1999). Making Wildlife Economically Viable for Communities Living Around the western Serengeti, Tanzania. Evaluating Eden Series Discussion Paper, No. 1, International Institute for Environment and Development, London.

Fanshawe, J.H., Ginsberg, J.R., Sillero-Zubiri, C. and Woodroffe, R. (1997). The status and distribution of remaining wild dog populations. In: the African Wild Dog: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Woodroffe, R., Ginsberg, J.R., Macdonald, D.W. (Eds.), pp. 1157.IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Fanshawe, J.H.L., Frame, L.H. and Ginsberg, J.R. (1991). The wild dog – Africa’s vanishing carnivore. Oryx 25: 137-146.

Frantzen, M.A.J., Ferguson, J.W.H. and De Villiers, M.S. (2001). The conservation role of captive African wild dogs Lycaon pictus. Biol.

Cons. 100: 253-260.

Frid, A. and Dill, L.M. (2002). Human-caused disturbance stimuli as a form of predation risk. Cons. Ecol.6(1): 11.

Gascoyne, S.C., Laurenson, M.K., Lelo, S. and Borner, M. (1993). Rabies in African wild dogs Lycaon pictus in the Serengeti region, Tanzania. J. Wild. Dis.29: 396-402.

Gorman, M.L., Mills, M.G., Raath, J.P. and Speakman, J.R. (1998). High hunting costs make African wild dogs vulnerable to kleptoparasitism by hyaenas. Nature 391: 479-481.

Gusset M., Swarner M.J., Mponwane, L., Keletile, K. and McNutt, J.W. (2009).Human-wildlife conflict in northern Botswana: livestock predation by endangered African wild dog Lycaon pictus and other carnivores.Oryx 43: 67-72.

Gusset, M., Ryan, S.J., Hofmeyr, M., van Dyk, G., Davies-Mostert, H.T., Graf, J.A., Owen, C., Szykman, M., Macdonald, D.W., Monfort, S.L., Wildt, D.E., Maddock, A.H., Mills, M.G.L., Slotow, R. and Somers, M.J. (2008). Efforts going to the dogs? Evaluating attempts to reintroduce endangered wild dogs in South Africa. J. Appl. Ecol. 45:100108.

Gusset, M., Slotow, R. and Somers, M.J. (2006). Divided we fail: the importance of social integration for the re-introduction of endangered African wild dogs Lycaon pictus. J. Zool.270: 502-511.

Hayward, M.W. (2006). Prey preferences of the spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta and degree of dietary overlap with the lion Panthera leo. J. Zool. 270: 606-614.

Hayward, M.W. and Kerley, G.I.H. (2008).Prey preferences and dietary overlap amongst Africa’s large predators.S. Afr. J. Wild. Res. 38: 93108.

Hazelhurst, S. and Milner, D. (2007). Watershed Assessment of the Ugalla Landscape. USDA, Forest Service Technical Assistance Trip Report.

forestservice/USFS_Watershed_Assessment_of_the_Ugalla_Landsca pe.pdf/view

Holmern, T., Muya, J. and Roskaft, E. (2007). Local law enforcement and illegal bushmeat hunting outside the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Env. Cons. 34: 55-63.

Hurt, R. and Ravn, P. (2000). Hunting and its benefits: an overview of hunting in Africa with special reference to Tanzania. In: Wildlife Conservation by Sustainable Use.Prins, H.H.T., Grootenhuis, J.G. and Dolan, T.T. (Eds.), pp. 295-313. Kluwer Academic Publishers,


Institute of Resource Assessment [IRA] (2007). Assessment and Evaluation of the Wildlife Management Areas in Tanzania. Wildlife Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN] (2012). IUCN Red list of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1.

Jackson, C.R., McNutt, J.W. and Apps, P.J. (2012). Managing the ranging behaviour of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus using translocated scent marks. Wild. Res.39: 31-34.

Kat, P.W., Alexander, K.A., Smith, J.S. and Munson, L. (1995). Rabies and African Wild Dogs in Kenya. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences, 262: 229-233.

Keane, A., Jones, J.P.G., Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2011). Encounter data in resource management and ecology: pitfalls and possibilities. J. Appl. Ecol. 48: 1164-1173.

Lindsey, P.A., Alexander, R.R., Du Toit, J.T. and Mills, M.G.L. (2005). The potential contribution of ecotourism to African wild dog Lycaon pictus conservation in South Africa. Biol. Cons.123: 339-348.

Lindsey, P.A., du Toit, J.T. and Mills, M.G.L. (2004). Area and prey requirements of African wild dogs under varying habitat conditions: implications for reintroductions. S. Afr. J. Wild. Res. 34: 77-86.

McNutt, J.W. and Silk, J.B. (2008). Pup production, sex ratios, and survivorship in African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 62:1061-1067.

McNutt, J.W., Parker, M.N. Swarner, M.J. and Gusset, M. (2008). Adoption as a conservation tool for endangered African wild dogsLycaon pictus.South Afr. J. Wild. Res. 38: 109-112.

Mills, M.G.L., Ellis, S., Woodroffe, R., Maddock, A., Stander, P., Rassmussen, G., Pole, A., Fletcher, P., Bruford, M., Wildt, D., MacDonald, D., Seal, U. (1998). Population and Habitat Viability Assessment for the African Wild Dog (Lycaon Pictus) in Southern Africa. Final Report from the Workshop held 13–17 October 1997 in Pretoria, South Africa. IUCN/SSC, Gland, Switzerland.

Milner-Gulland, E.J. and Rowcliffe, J.M. (2007). Conservation and Sustainable Use: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Rasmussen, G.S.A. (2009). Anthropogenic Factors Influencing Biological Processes of the Painted Dog Lycaon pictus.PhD thesis, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.

Ray, J.C., Hunter, L. and Zigouris, J. (2005). Setting Conservation and Research Priorities for Larger African Carnivores.WCS Working Paper No. 24.

Wildlife Conservation Society, New York.

Romañach, S.S. and Lindsey, P.A. (2008).Conservation implications of prey responses to wild dogsLycaon pictus during the denning season on wildlife ranches. Anim. Cons.11: 111-117.

Saleni, P., Gusset, M., Graf, J.A., Szykman, M., Walters, M. and Somers, M.J. (2007). Refuges in time: temporal avoidance of interference competition in endangered wild dogs Lycaon pictus.Canid News 10.2. dogs.pdf

Setsaas, T., Holmern, T., Mwakalebe, G., Stokke, S. and Røskaft, E. (2007). How does human exploitation affect impala populations in protected and partially protected areas? - A case study from the Serengeti Ecosystem, Tanzania. Biol. Cons. 136: 563-570.

Sillero-Zubiri, C., Hoffmann, M. and Macdonald, D.W. Eds. (2004). Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. x + 430 pp.

Somers, M. and Maddock, A. (1999). Painted dogs of Zululand. Afr. Wild. 53: 24-26.

Songorwa, A.N. (1999). Community-based wildlife management CWM in Tanzania: are the communities interested? WorldDevelopment 27: 20612079.

Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute [TAWIRI] (2009). Tanzania Wild Dog Conservation Action Plan. In: Tanzania Carnivore Conservation Action Plan. pp. 5-30. TAWIRI, Arusha, Tanzania.

Ugalla Game Reserve [UGR] (2006). A Checklist of Plants, Animals and Birds in Ugalla Game Reserve. Unpublished Report, Ugalla Game Reserve Project, Tabora, Tanzania.

United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre [UNEPWCMC] (2008). State of the World’s Protected Areas: an Annual Review of Global Conservation Progress. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK.

United Republic of Tanzania [URT] (1998). Tabora Region Socio-Economic Profile. The Planning Commission Dar es Salaam, and Regional Commissioner’s Office, Tabora, Tanzania.

United Republic of Tanzania [URT] (2013). Population Distribution by Age and Sex. National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Dar es Salaam, and Office of Chief Government Statistician, President’s Office, Finance, Economy and Development Planning, Zanzibar.

Vucetich J.A. and Creel, S.R. (1999). Ecological interactions, social organization, and extinction risk in African wild dogs. Cons.


Webster, H., McNutt, J.W. and McComb, K. (2011). African wild dogs as a fugitive species: playback experiments investigate how wild dogs respond to their major competitors. Ethology 118:147-156.

Wilfred, P. & MacColl, A.D.C. (2014). Legal subsistence hunting trends in the Ugalla ecosystemof western Tanzania. Eur. J. Wild. Res. 60(2): 371376.

Wilfred, P. (2010). Towards sustainable wildlife management areas in Tanzania. Trop. Cons. Sc. 3: 103-116.

Wilfred, P. (2012). Patterns of Wildlife Exploitation in the Ugalla Ecosystem of Western Tanzania. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

Wilfred, P. (2012). Trophy hunting and trophy size in Ugalla Game Reserve, western Tanzania. Tanz. J. Sci. 38(2): 111-122.

Winterbach H. C. W., WinterbachE. K., Somers M. J. andHaywardM. W. (2013). Key factors and related principles in the conservation oflarge African carnivores. Mamm. Rev. 43: 89-110.

With, K.A. (2002). Landscape connectivity and metapopulation dynamics. In: Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. Gergel, S.E. and Turner, M.G. (Eds.), pp. 208-227. Springer-Verlag. New York.

Woodroffe, R. (2011). Ranging behaviour of African wild dog packs in a human dominated landscape. J. Zool. 283: 88-97.

Woodroffe, R. and Donnelly, C.A. (2011). Risk of contact between endangered African wild dogsLycaon pictus and domestic dogs:

opportunities forpathogen transmission. J. Appl. Ecol. 48: 1345-1354.

Woodroffe, R. and Ginsberg, J.R. (1999). Conserving the African wild dog Lycaon pictus. II. Is there a role for reintroduction? Oryx33: 143-151.

Woodroffe, R., Chapman, K., Lemusana, E. (2009). Solitary breeding in an African wild dog Lycaon pictus. Afr. J. Ecol. 47: 790-791.

Woodroffe, R., Davies-Mostert, H., Ginsberg, J.R., Graf, J.A., Leigh, K., McCreery, E.K., Mills, M.G.L., Pole, A., Rasmussen, G.S.A., Robbins, R., Somers, M. and Szykman, M. (2007). Rates and causes of mortality in endangered African wild dogs Lycaon pictus: lessons for management and monitoring. Oryx 41: 1-9.

Woodroffe, R., Ginsberg J.R. and Macdonald D.W. Eds. (1997). The African Wild Dog: Status survey and conservation action plan AWDCAP. IUCNthe World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland. 123p.

Woodroffe, R., Lindsey P.A., Romañach, S.S. and Ole Ranah, S.M.K. (2007). African wild dogs Lycaon Pictus can subsist on small prey: implications for conservation.J. Mamm. 88: 181-193.

Woodroffe, R., Lindsey, P., Romañach, S., Stein, A., ole Ranah, S.M.K. (2005). Livestock predation by endangered African wild dogs Lycaon pictus in northern Kenya. Biol. Cons. 124: 225-234.

Yanda, P.Z. (2010). Impact of small scale tobacco growing on the spatial and temporal distribution of Miombo woodlands in western

Tanzania. J. Ecol. &Nat.Env. 2: 10-16.