Climate change a real cause for concern for African wild dogs

Climate change is threatening the survival of African wild dogs.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, from the Zoological Society of London, says when people think of climate change's effects on animals they often only think of polar bears and melting ice and disregard species expected to adapt to hot weather.

We used tracking collars to follow what wild dogs did during the day.

Prof. Rosie Woodroffe, Zoological Society of London

Woodroffe says they found that on hot days, the wild dogs were less physically active because of the heat which negatively impacts them especially when raising pups. On hot days that's less time to hunt for food says Woodroffe.

We found in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya that when pups are raised in hot weather, fewer pups survived. When fewer pups survive, the population goes down.

Prof. Rosie Woodroffe, Zoological Society of London

In Botswana where wild dogs were monitored for twenty four years, the numbers of surviving puppies were declining and the number of wild-dogs dropping because of increasing temperatures says Woodroffe.

Woodroffe’s paper‚ published in the Journal of Animal Ecology‚ is one of the first to show the impact of global warming on wildlife thought to be well adapted to heat.

Have a listen to the full interview in the clip:

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