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African Wild Dogs

African Wild Dogs, Photo by Mark Jones for Mpala Live

Join Us for a Live Chat on African Wild Dogs and Cheetahs!

Join us next Tuesday, November 25th at 9 AM Pacific Time/Noon Eastern for a Live Chat with experts from our partners at Mpala who will dissect the nuances of (big) cats and (wild) dogs.

Cheetah, Photo by Mark Jones for Mpala Live

Cheetah, Photo by Mark Jones for Mpala Live

Stef and Helen will join explore.org next Tuesday to discuss their specialities in African wild dogs and cheetahs. Stef Strebel has worked as a field biologist, research assistant and teaching assistant studying diverse taxa from Antarctic microbes to tree swallows, wolves, lions and now wild dogs and cheetah. She is Swiss but grew up in Tanzania and obtained her B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science from Franklin & Marshall College in the U.S. in 2010. She now works as the project manager for the Kenya Rangelands Wild Dog & Cheetah project, and her favorite parts of fieldwork include telemetry, bush-whacking, tracking and scat collecting!


Helen O’Neill is a PhD student based at the Zoological Society of London and University College London.  Her work focuses on the landscape ecology of cheetahs and African wild dogs.  Helen got her MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London, where she studied saiga antelope in the Russian steppe.  She then worked on a diverse range of conservation and research projects, from monitoring butterflies in southern England to reptiles in Madagascar.  Most recently she lived and worked for three and a half years in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, where she was Project Manager for the Serengeti Cheetah Project.

Fast Facts: 

  • Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List.
  • Wild dogs used to be found throughout sub Saharan Africa but now inhabit just 7% of this range and are designated as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.
  • Each individual cheetah has a unique spot pattern on its pelage, this is also true for African wild dogs for the patches on their coats.  These patterns are as unique as a human fingerprint and stay the same throughout the animal’s life.
  • Cheetahs and African wild dogs are very wide-ranging species.  Adults of both species may have home ranges in excess of 2,000 sq km and dispersing adolescents often travel hundreds of kilometres.
  • Cheetahs have a wide range of vocalisations, including chirping, churring and growling.  They are also the only big cat that can truly purr.
  • African wild dogs live in packs of up to 30 individuals, however only the alpha male and female breed – the other dogs in the pack help with pup-rearing but do not reproduce themselves. Learn more about cheetahs here and African wild dogs here.

Meet Helen and Stef on Tuesday and enter your questions for the Q&A in the comment field here. ‘Til then, tune into the Live African Wildlife Cams here.

Helen O'Neill

Helen O’Neil


Stef Strebel

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