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​Amid the bustling of city life, visitors at the Johannesburg Zoo can experience over 320 species of animals from all over the world, totaling about 2 000 animals in our care.

More and more people living in cities are disconnected from their natural environment. For most of these people, zoos provide the gateway for stepping into nature with other living creatures that share our planet.
The Johannesburg Zoo is shining the spotlight on endangered species. These are animals that are indigenous to Africa and contribute immensely to the ecosystem.

Meet the African wild dogs also known as “painted wolves or dogs". They have unmistakably long legs, rounded ears, spotted coats and large powerful jaws. The coat pattern is unique to each dog, making individuals easily recognisable.

Wild dogs are extremely social, living in packs of around 10 individuals and up to 40 members. They weigh between 17 to 36kg and are found in open plains and moderately dense bush. They can reach speeds of more than 70km an hour.

Interesting facts about the African wild dog:

  • African wild dogs regulate and maintain the ecosystem by hunting the sick and weak animals, which helps maintain the balance and improve prey species.
  • Every individual knows their role and helps take care of the wounded, sick members and pups. They communicate by making particular sounds within the pack. 

  • They are known to be opportunistic predators that hunt medium size animals. They also feed on small prey like hares, but they also kill big prey between 120 to 140kg such as young buffalo and eland.
  • In the wild they can live up to 12 years and 15 years in captivity. Illegal wild-life trading, loss of habitat and the on-going war between animal and human beings, has critically reduced the number of these animals on earth.
  • The Johannesburg Zoo hosts five wild dogs, three males and two females. It successfully bred four times.
  • African Wild dogs are crepuscular - resting during the day and hunting in the early morning and afternoon to early evening. ​

“The conservation team at the Joburg Zoo is doing sterling work in increasing endangered species numbers. The success of the African wild dogs breeding programme is just one of many," said Bryne Maduka, the managing director of the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo.

Visit JCPZ's social media pages to learn more about these beautiful mammals and a series of profiles of endangered species breeding programmes spearheaded by the Joburg Zoo.