Love The African Wild Dog
At 5 years-old this wild dog has lived many wonderful years with his pack. He loves being a part of it, going on hunts and seeing little white spots popping up as they sneak along, playfighting in the grass and relaxing in the sun. But it’s starting to get harder to find enough space. The humans are everywhere, the prey is drying up, and there aren’t as many new females joining their pack. He hopes the humans stop expanding soon, surely they have enough space now!
The African wild dog is one of the world’s most endangered mammals. It has a beautiful patchy, colourful coat, very large ears, and a big bushy tail with a little white tip, perfect for letting the pack know where you are when hunting. Each dog has unique markings making it very easy to tell them apart.
They have very strong social bonds and live in packs of between 10-40 dogs, hunting for medium-sized prey like gazelle. There are separate hierarchies for males and females and, very unusually, it is the females rather than the males who leave the family pack to join others. Amazingly, the packs have been seen to ‘vote’ using sneezes. They gather before they are to go on a hunt which will be determined by how many dogs sneeze, a sneeze indicating yes.
A female will give birth to a litter of 6-16 pups. Because she gives birth to such a large litter, only the dominant female can give birth otherwise it would be impossible to feed everybody. She is very protective of her pups, keeping the other members of the pack away until the babies are old enough to eat solids at around 3-4 weeks. The pups are weaned around 5 weeks where they are fed regurgitated meat by the pack. At 10 weeks they are nice and strong and the pack can move away from the den.
Some of the biggest threats to the wild dogs are being killed, both accidentally and on purpose, by humans, diseases such as rabies, habitat loss, and prey competition with larger animals such as lions. With humans expanding for agriculture, settlements, and roads, the dogs lose the spaces they were once able to freely roam, forcing them into dangerous conflicts with humans. They are shot or poisoned by farmers if they kill their livestock and will often be blamed for the loss of livestock even if it was a leopard or hyena. There are thought to be 1,409 mature individuals left and their population is still decreasing.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/SOURCES