Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

Animals A to Z. The Letter P

Marty’s photo of the day #2627: It’s “Animals A thru Z Month.” Each day in August, I will post an animal I’ve photographed—somewhere in the world—in alphabetical order.

P is for Painted Dogs. I photographed this pack of painted dogs in Zimbabwe. Big eared, long legged, and gangly, each dog has a unique coat pattern. It’s almost as if someone took a canvas of short brown fur and created a work of abstract art by splashing it with blotches of black, gray, yellow, and white.

The IUCN classifies painted dogs as an “endangered species.” An estimated seven hundred remain in Zimbabwe and only four thousand exist in all of Africa. Habitat loss, hunting, trapping, and other human-related activities have collectively diminished the population of this intelligent animal.

Even though painted dogs are part of the canine family, their genetic line is unique. They’re also very social animals who work cooperatively for the good of the pack. After returning from hunts, the dogs will regurgitate part of their prey for those who were left behind because of age or injury.

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