On October 21, Twycross Zoo in the UK welcomed three South American Bush Dogs, the first litter of Bush Dog pups to be born at the zoo in almost a decade!
First time parents Japura and Aztec are doing a superb job caring for their new offspring. The pups have so far remained in their nest, but are now beginning to venture into their outdoor viewing area a few times a day as they explore their new surroundings.
Zookeeper Chris Simpson comments, “When we arrived on the morning of the August 21st, we knew Japura had given birth overnight, but it took a week or so to confirm there were three pups in the litter. They are yet to be sexed so we haven’t got names for the new arrivals at the moment.”
Bush Dog pups are born with their eyes closed, and for the first few weeks stay in their nest where both parents will protect, clean and help transport them.
Senior Zoo Keeper Kirsten Wicks adds, “Before the babies were born, Aztec was quite possessive with food and always made sure he ate before Japura. However, now we’ve noticed that when we feed Aztec he’ll take the food and present it to Japura, and then wait for her to eat before he does. For a first time dad he’s doing a great job caring for Japura, as well as the pups.”
Team Leader Julian Chapman says, “The fact that these animals have produced their first litter within a year of moving into their new enclosure is a testament to the thought and effort that the staff at Twycross Zoo are putting into the redevelopment of the animal enclosures. Hopes are high for several other species such as the Amur leopards and prairie marmots which have also had their enclosure redeveloped this year.”
Bush Dogs are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Near Threatened. Their threats are poorly understood, but include loss of habitat to development for farming, loss of prey species, and an increase in diseases affecting canines.