With only 6,600 individuals left, the African wild dog is Africa’s second most endangered carnivore after the Ethiopian wolf.
African wild dogs are considered an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because they have disappeared from much of their former range. They are also listed as Endangered by the United States Endangered Species Act.
The African wild dog population is currently estimated at approximately 6,600 adults in 39 subpopulations, of which only 1,400 are mature individuals. With such low population estimates, the African wild dog is Africa’s second most endangered carnivore after the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis).
The largest areas contain only relatively small wild dog populations. For example, the Selous Game Reserve, with an area of 43,000 km² (about the size of Switzerland), is estimated to contain about 800 African wild dogs. Most reserves, and probably most African wild dog populations, are smaller. For example, the population in Niokolo-Koba National Park and buffer zones (about 25,000 km²) is likely to be not more than 50–100 dogs. Such small populations are vulnerable to extinction.
Given uncertainty surrounding population estimates, and the species’ tendency to population fluctuations, the largest subpopulations might well number less than 250 mature individuals, thereby warranting listing as Endangered under criterion C2a(i).