With only 5,000 surviving, the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) is one of the world's most endangered large carnivores--and one of the most remarkable. This comprehensive portrait of wild dogs incorporates previously scattered information with important new findings from a six-year study in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve, Africa's largest protected area.
The book emphasizes ecology, concentrating on why wild dogs fare poorly in protected areas that maintain healthy populations of lions, hyenas, or other top carnivores. In addition to conservation issues, it covers fascinating aspects of wild dog behavior and social evolution. The Creels use demographic, behavioral, endocrine, and genetic approaches to examine how and why nonbreeding pack mates help breeding pairs raise their litters. They also present the largest data set ever collected on mammalian predator-prey interactions and the evolution of cooperative hunting, allowing them to account for wild dogs' prowess as hunters.
By using a large sample size and sophisticated analytical tools, the authors step well beyond previous research. Their results include some surprises that will cause even specialists to rethink certain propositions, such as the idea that wild dogs are unusually vulnerable to infectious disease. Several findings apply broadly to the management of other protected areas.
Of clear appeal to ecologists studying predation and cooperation in any population, this book collects and expands a cache of information useful to anyone studying conservation as well as to amateurs intrigued by the once-maligned but extraordinary wild dog.
"The African Wild Dog is a book about a species that is inherently fascinating for a wide variety of reasons. The authors demonstrate how different sorts of data can be collected simultaneously even under difficult field conditions, and they then bring state-of-the-art quantitative analyses to bear on theoretical issues of current interest. As a consequence, the book moves our understanding . . . forward in a compelling way. The work is behavioral ecology at its best."--Tim Caro, Science
"A monument to much that is best in naturalistic field research. . . . For the armchair conservationist it is easy to assume rarity is a man-made evil, but for the wild dog it is natural. . . . The African wild dog may soon have nowhere left to run."--David W. MacDonald, Times Literary Supplement
"This book is essential for anyone interested in the behavior and conservation of large carnivores. The advanced statistical techniques and in-depth discussions of dispersal, hunting, and sociality should be of interest to most behavioral ecologists, and the smooth integration of behavioral observations and analytical conservation biology serves as a model for future studies of endangered species."--Theodore Stankowich, Ethnology
"There is no book like this on wild dogs. It is a valuable, engaging, and well-written contribution to science."--Joshua Ginsberg, Director, Asia Program, Wildlife Conservation Society
"This long-needed monograph on wild dogs fills a major gap in the literature. Containing a mass of new information and arguments that will advance many fields, it is a worthy addition to a distinguished set of books on large African carnivores."--James R. Malcolm, University of Redlands
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