The sound of padded feet is once again being heard at Perth Zoo in Western Australia following the arrival of two Dingo pups. The pups, named Daku and Mirri, are pure-breed Alpine Dingos born on March 13, 2011 at the Australian Dingo Conservation Association in New South Wales. They were then sent to their new home at Perth Zoo.
The pups train daily so staff can keep a close eye on their health and provide medication or physical check-ups without the need for restraint or anaesthesia. To achieve this, the keepers use positive reinforcement-based training known as operant conditioning. The keeper asks the pups to follow a cue, such as sit or lie down, and when they do the behaviour correctly, the keeper praises them and rewards them with a treat.
Of course, it’s not all work and no play. The pups are full of energy and enjoy their play time.
Photo Credit: Perth Zoo
They still have a few months to go on their training before they appear in public areas with their keepers but until then they can be seen in their exhibit at the entrance to the Australian Bushwalk.