Climate change is threatening the survival of African wild dogs.
“In Botswana‚ the average number of pups that reached their first birthday fell by 35% from 5.1 per litter between 1989-2000 to 3.3 between 2001-2012‚ with temperatures rising 1.1C in the same period. Yearlings fell by 31% in Kenya and 14% in Zimbabwe.”
The warning‚ by a team of researchers led by Rosie Woodroffe of the Zoological Society of London‚ comes soon after scientists suggested a “biological annihilation” of wildlife means Earth’s sixth mass extinction is under way.
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.
Only 6‚600 African wild dogs survive in the wild‚ and the 1‚400 adults leave their pups in dens when they set off on early morning and late evening hunts‚ avoiding the worst heat of the day.
The scientists found rising temperatures in Kenya‚ Zimbabwe and Botswana cut the time the dogs were active‚ reducing the amount of meat they were able to regurgitate into the mouths’ of their young‚ thereby endangering the survival of pups.