Rarely seen in its natural habitat these days, the attractive African wild dog (Lycaon pictus – meaning painted wolf) is one of the most threatened carnivores in the world and the most threatened predator in Africa, after the Ethiopian wolf. Gregarious by nature, wild dogs are nomadic predators on territories that extend over hundreds of kilometres. They hunt co-operatively, usually at dawn and dusk, and are efficient hunters with a high success rate. Each dog has a distinct colour pattern.

The species is known by a number of colloquial names including wildehond (Afrikaans), African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted hunting dog and painted dog. Close on 40 other indigenous African language names reflect the previous wide distribution of the species across vast stretches of Africa.


HESC maintains a strict policy of no contact or interaction with animals kept on the property. Our policy is aligned with international trends based on animal ethics and welfare and is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of both animals and visitors. Our policy further endorses the right of animals to live a life without fear, which is often the consequence of close contact with humans with whom they are not acquainted. We avoid human-imprinting, whereby the animals will identify more with humans than with their own species and cause them to become problem animals once released.