Chris Packham had no idea about condition impacting dogs
Rob Rinder tells Chris Packham he’s ‘made him cry’
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Winterwatch presenter Chris Packham is the narrator of the BBC series Dogs In the Wild: Meet The Family which explores the lives of wild canines from across the globe. From the tops of the freezing Himalayas to the blistering Sahara Desert, wild dogs thrive in the least likely of places. Reflecting on creating the programme, Chris admitted he had no idea African wild dogs could essentially die of a broken heart.
Chris adores his two miniature poodles Sid and Nancy whom he often shares pictures of on his social media.
However, right now, he is concerned about his pets’ wild cousins whom he is trying to raise awareness of.
Wild dogs, which are the most widespread carnivores on the planet, are experiencing difficult times.
There are more than 30 species of wild dogs, including foxes, dingoes, wolves and jackals which are all having to adapt to a change in their habitats caused by climate change.
Whether they live on snow-capped mountains or overgrown grasslands, they are all being impacted.
Chris told Radio Times now is the “golden age” of canid scientific discovery.
Within his new series, Dogs in the Wild: Meet the Family, Chris was particularly struck by the emotional intelligence of African wild dogs.
He shared: “I had no idea about broken heart syndrome.”
Within the documentary, Chris learned about wild dogs being shot by farmers in southern Africa where they are seen as a threat to livestock.
He visited a rescue centre where injured dogs were treated but they still died despite making full recoveries.
A post-mortem revealed their deaths were caused by heart ruptures – effectively broken heart syndrome – the same condition which can affect humans.
Chris was taken aback by the discovery that the dogs suffered extreme grief as they missed the company of their pack.
Wildlife expert Chris opened up about other stand-out moments from the three-part series with the BBC.
He explained: “I really liked the Himalayan foxes – they were outstanding. The fennec foxes are just beautiful – and bonkers.
“That sequence was really nice, and it was heartbreaking to see them being trapped all the time.
“I didn’t know about that sort of persecution.
“Then the Maine wolves, the way they walk – they walk like supermodels – was absolutely phenomenal, and the great story about the fruit is really interesting.
“It is difficult to pick a favourite but if I was pushed, I think it would be the fennec foxes, they are just beautiful.”
The fennec fox is the smallest of all the world’s foxes and they are native to the deserts of North Africa.
Dogs In The Wild: Meet the Family is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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