After three long but cozy months in the den, Al Ain Wildlife Park's African Wild Dog pups are now ready to frolic in the sun. All six pups have emerged happy and healthy and are learning how to hunt from their parents and other pack members. With their numbers dramatically reduced in the wild due to human persecution, habitat loss, decline in prey and disease spread by domestic dogs, these births mark a great success for Al Ain's Desert Carnivore Conservation & Breeding Programme.
Read and see more below the fold
“The African wild dog is regarded as one of the endangered species among carnivores and is recognized by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Breeding African wild dogs in captivity is quite an achievement. Reproduction is seasonal, and when new packs form, the alpha pair may not mate immediately. We are glad that the mother has delivered such a healthy litter of pups. Our Back-of-House environment with minimal disturbance and close veterinary and husbandry team observation enabled them the best possible start into their new life. I hope that our visitors will enjoy watching this fascinating and social species which is in badly need of protection in the wild today.”
African wild dogs belong to the family of dogs, which also includes jackals, foxes, wolves and domestic dogs. Their large head and swift nature often misleads one to recognize them as hyenas.
African wild dogs were once widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the most viable populations exist in southern African countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Their dramatic decline has been due to human persecution, habitat loss, decline in prey species, and disease such as rabies and distemper. Because of the nomadic nature of these animals, it is impossible to determine the exact number and location of the remaining populations. Al Ain Wildlife Park is located in the United Arab Emirates and their desert carnivore conservation programme also includes Sand cats, Arabian leopards, Cheetahs and African lions.