Re: African Wild Dog

Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:15 pm

Like always, each one who talks, has a different number 0*\

Re: African Wild Dog

Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:10 am

These Dogs Vote by Sneezing

By Traci Watson
Democracy isn’t just for humans. New research suggests the sociable carnivores known as African wild dogs make consensus decisions too—by sneezing.

The canine equivalent of “achoo!” seems to serve as a vote for some groups of the dogs, which live in countries such as Namibia and are distantly related to domestic pooches. Wild dogs embark together to hunt only when there’s enough sneezing at a pack gathering, says a study in this week’s Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

For the dogs, sneezing “is a form of communication,” says study co-author Reena Walker, who performed the research as a student at Brown University and a research technician at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust. “The sneeze acts as some kind of signal that shapes decision-making.”
At first Walker and her colleagues aimed to understand how dogs in Botswana mark their territories, but the researchers were intrigued by an odd habit of their study subjects. “We all started questioning, ‘Why are these dogs sneezing so much?’” Walker says.

Like humans, a wild dogs sneeze with a short, sharp burst of air from the nose. Sometimes dogs sneeze at rest. But most sneezes occur during the pre-hunting ritual known as a rally.

Think of your dog’s excitement when you arrive home from work, Walker says, and you’ll have a good idea of the scene at a wild-dog rally. For a few minutes, the dogs in a pack frenetically touch heads, wag their tails and dash side-by-side, activity thought to reinforce social bonds.
Walker and her colleague watched five packs, each including four to 15 grown or nearly grown dogs, engage in these big canine parties. Some rallies ended with the dogs trotting off to hunt. But some rallies fizzled. Then the dogs went back to sleep in the shade, often in a pile of furry bodies.

The researchers noticed a pattern: the more sneezing at a rally, the more likely the dogs were to set out on a hunt. If one of the pack’s top dogs kicked off the rally, it took three sneezes to send the pack in pursuit of a meal, usually antelope. If a low-ranking pack member initiated the rally, it took 10 sneezes to guarantee a hunt.
The researchers can’t be sure the sneezes are the equivalent of “aye” to hunting. But Walker points to the different sneeze thresholds – one for high-status dogs, one for the rank-and-file—as support for the idea that sneezes count toward a quorum.

The findings reveal an extra level of complexity to the dogs’ society, which otherwise looks like an autocracy. The alpha male and female are the only pack members whose pups survive to adulthood, and underlings feed and babysit the leaders’ pups.
The new results show a dog pack “is not really despotic,” Walker says. “There is indeed a more democratic process for daily activities and group decisions.”

The research looks solid, says National Geographic Young Explorer Dedan Ngatia, a carnivore researcher at Mpala Research Center in Kenya. “I frankly never thought that sneezing was an important factor. … This is a really huge finding!” He hopes to see whether the packs he studies also sneeze to make decisions.

The study’s description is “fascinating,” says Harriet Davies-Mostert, head of conservation for the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa. She and other colleagues who observe wild-dog rallies have not seen high levels of sneezing, so perhaps sneezing is only used by Botswana dogs, she says. She’d also like to see more research to confirm that the sneezing is not just a response to other cues noticed by the dogs.

Walker has her own hopes for the research: that it will raise the public profile for a species in serious trouble. Only 6,600 African wild dogs still roam the continent, by the most recent official count. Fragmentation of their habitat and diseases such as rabies are driving their numbers still lower.

“They’re absolutely gorgeous animals focused on cooperation and their pack family unit,” Walker says. “The more people who are aware [of] how amazing these animals are, the better.”

Re: African Wild Dog

Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:16 am

Hmmm! :-? Sounds a bit far fetched, but then again........... -O-

When the dogs are milling around a lot of dust is raised and makes them sneeze ;-)

Re: African Wild Dog

Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:23 pm

Very interesting, this, but am also a bit sceptical... --00--

Will check out my next dog sighting in a decade or so! lol

Re: African Wild Dog

Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:41 pm

BPCT's #hotdogs paper with @RosieWoodroffe & Rosemary Groom explores the impact of #climatechange on #wilddogs


Climate change imposes an urgent need to recognise and conserve the species likely to be worst affected. However, while ecologists have mostly explored indirect effects of rising ambient temperatures on temperate and polar species, physiologists have predicted direct impacts on tropical species.
The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), a tropical species, exhibits few of the traits typically used to predict climate change vulnerability. Nevertheless, we predicted that wild dog populations might be sensitive to weather conditions, because the species shows strongly seasonal reproduction across most of its geographical range.
We explored associations between weather conditions, reproductive costs, and reproductive success, drawing on long-term wild dog monitoring data from sites in Botswana (20°S, 24 years), Kenya (0°N, 12 years), and Zimbabwe (20°S, 6 years).
High ambient temperatures were associated with reduced foraging time, especially during the energetically costly pup-rearing period. Across all three sites, packs which reared pups at high ambient temperatures produced fewer recruits than did those rearing pups in cooler weather; at the non-seasonal Kenya site such packs also had longer inter-birth intervals. Over time, rising ambient temperatures at the (longest-monitored) Botswana site coincided with falling wild dog recruitment.
Our findings suggest a direct impact of high ambient temperatures on African wild dog demography, indicating that this species, which is already globally endangered, may be highly vulnerable to climate change. This vulnerability would have been missed by simplistic trait-based assessments, highlighting the limitations of such assessments. Seasonal reproduction, which is less common at low latitudes than at higher latitudes, might be a useful indicator of climate change vulnerability among tropical species.

Re: African Wild Dog

Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:48 pm

Hmmmm! :-?