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‘Remembering African Wild Dogs’ honours a feared, endangered species

From adorable pups to afternoon naps, from wildebeest hunts to confrontations with honey badgers, the book features more than 80 stunning photographs, writes Mila de Villiers

27 February 2022 - 00:00 By Mila de Villiers
African wild dogs at the Manyoni Private Game Reserve in KZN.
African wild dogs at the Manyoni Private Game Reserve in KZN.
Image: Dale Morris

Remembering African Wild Dogs ★★★★★
Wildlife Photographers United (Various)
HPH Publishing, R850

African wild dog, Cape wild dog, Cape hunting dog, painted wolf, wildehond: Lycoan pictus is the sixth animal to feature in the “Remembering Wildlife” charity series. (Previous animals include great apes, cheetahs and rhinos). Yet for an animal who goes by many monikers, they remain misunderstood and feared, which has resulted in accelerated eradication of the species.

As elusive as they are endangered (as per the introduction: their numbers have dwindled from 500,000 to roughly 6,600 over the past few decades), conservation of African wild dogs has reached a critical stage.

‘Remembering African Wild Dogs’ by Wildlife Photographers United.
‘Remembering African Wild Dogs’ by Wildlife Photographers United.
Image: Supplied

Consisting of more than 80 phenomenal images taken by globally renowned wildlife photographers, Remembering African Wild Dogs documents the lives of these singular pack animals.

From adorable pups to afternoon naps, dramatic imagery of wildebeest hunts, and — a personal favourite — confrontations with the tenacious African honey badger: this book embodies the essence of a dog whose survival now depends on the culprits of their near-extinction and serves as a solid reminder of why their conservancy is of utmost importance.

Imagery aside, the book includes facts about the species, photographers’ personal experiences of capturing them, and tributes to the African wild dog — including one from award-winning wildlife photographer Jonathan Scott.

The profits from sales are being donated to projects working to conserve the breed. As admirable as this is, the hefty retail price of R850 reiterates the fact that conservation efforts in SA remain largely dependent on the one percenters — neither a sustainable nor feasible method of preserving our biodiversity in the long run.

Nonetheless, the African wild dog is dependent on our support — and if we don’t perform, remembering them solely though photographs remains the dire reality.