Dogs, Dholes & Dingoes

Edinburgh Zoo Welcomes an Endangered African Hunting Dog Puppy

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On October 23, carnivore keepers at Edinburgh Zoo announced the birth of an African Hunting Dog—a first for the zoo! The announcement coincides with the reopening of the hunting dog walkway, which keepers had closed to visitors in August as they suspected Jet, the pack’s non-dominant female, was pregnant. 

With less than 5,500 African Hunting Dogs left in the wild, the birth of this puppy is an immense achievement for Edinburgh Zoo. Habitat fragmentation is one of the biggest factors in the hunting dogs’ decline, as the packs need a large range in order to remain sustainable. Hunting Dogs are also heavily persecuted by farmers, even though the dogs rarely attack livestock. Education and conservation breeding programs, such as the one Edinburgh Zoo is part of, remain crucial to saving this species from extinction.

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4 hunting dogPhoto credits: Edinburgh Zoo

Darren McGarry, head of living collections at Edinburgh Zoo says, “We are all really excited about the arrival of this puppy. Hunting Dogs, like many other pack animals, are very difficult to breed successfully. Although we don’t know its sex yet, this pup is proving to be a real bundle of attitude. It’s very bold for such a young age and we’ve often spotted it tugging along joints of meat that are twice its size. All of the dogs have been seen feeding it and it looks like an established member of the pack."

He continues, “Most first-time mothers can be very nervous, so we decided to close the enclosure to visitors in order to give Jet and her pup the best chance of a successful birth. Hunting dogs have a very intricate social hierarchy and if they feel threatened this can cause the mother to reject her pups.”

In about a week, the puppy will be caught for its first health check and to be sexed. As Hunting Dog puppies are born black and white and only start to get their mottled markings at around two months old, the keepers will only name the feisty little pup once its colors have come through. 

Although Edinburgh Zoo’s pack has two males, Blade and Two Socks, only Blade, the dominant male, will breed with the pack’s females. Usually, the dominant female will be the one to have pups but it is not uncommon for lower-ranking females to also give birth. The zoo’s keepers are confident that this pup will be the first of many for their pack. 

 

 


Seven Pups for Perth!

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Last week Perth Zoo celebrated an important milestone when their seven African Painted Dog pups emerged from the den for the first time and received a clean bill of health. The veterinary check-up included weighing, determining sex, adding microchips and noting each pup's unique markings. 

Unlike most canines, African Wild Dogs allow their their pups to eat first and, in the case of young pups, feed them directly. The Zoo's Environment Minister, Bill Marmion, explained “The adult dogs have been regurgitating their meals to help feed the pups. This is natural behavior that ensures the young develop and become part of the group.”

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In the wild these unique animals are endangered due to poaching, car accidents and disease among other threats. Learn more about these unique animals on the Perth Zoo website. More photos below the fold.

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Dhole "Toddlers" on Display at Minnesota Zoo

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On April 12, the Minnesota Zoo welcomed its first-ever litter of endangered Dhole pups and on April 14th, the Zoo welcomed a second litter! These births mark the 10th and 11th litters ever born in the United States. Dholes are exhibited at only two other North American institutions besides the Minnesota Zoo. This also marks the first time ZooBorns has shared these fascinating canines. 

The pups are currently in their “toddler” stage, just starting to venture outside of the den. At this time, the exact number of pups is unclear as keepers are giving mothers and pups time to bond and have not ventured into the den, but current estimates are around four pups. The two adult females are sharing maternal duties so the exact parentage of the pups is still unknown.

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Dhole Pupst at Minnesota Zoo 2Photo credits: Galen / Minnesota Zoo

Also known as Asian wild dogs, Dholes are a primitive canine species that reside in highly structured social packs. Highly adaptable, they live in diverse habitats in Thailand, Russia, China, and India in areas with plenty of prey, water and suitable den sites. Exclusive carnivores, the Dhole’s diet consists of mostly small to medium-sized deer and wild boar. They den in abandoned burrows and have litters of up to 12 pups. All members of the pack care for the litter.

With less than 2,500 in the wild, Dholes are an endangered species. Due to human population growth in Asia, major threats to the species include habitat loss, lack of prey, and disease from domestic and feral dogs. The Minnesota Zoo supports Dhole conservation in Thailand.


Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's Dingoes Are Growing Up Fast!

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The Dingo pups born at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on January 30th are growing up fast! In these new photos from the zoo, the puppies can be seen frolicking in their outdoor environment. Pure Dingoes are increasingly rare in the wild due to hybridization of the species with domesticated dogs. The 6-week-old pups are strong and confident, and in between wrestling and playing, their favorite pit stop is this large hollow log!

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Photo credit: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo


Baby Dingoes Open Their Eyes!

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These photos show Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's Dingo pups at 3 weeks old with their eyes open. The pups spend a lot of time yawning when they are awake. The puppies' parents Mattie and Naya are one of only about 75 pairs of pure Dingoes worldwide, so the pups are an important addition to the pure Dingo population.  In Australia, Dingoes have widely hybridized with domestic dogs, so pure Dingoes are rare. Mattie and Naya came to the zoo from Australia in 2010.

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Cheryl Piropato/Fort Wayne Children's Zoo


New Playpal for Kasi the Cheetah Cub

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Busch Gardens’ Cheetah cub has a new companion! Since the young Cheetah cub is being hand-raised by keepers, staff decided to pair him with a Labrador puppy as a playpal to help the animal socialize. Both animals are quite playful and naturally curious about the other. They have been getting along wonderfully. While this is Busch Gardens' first puppy / cheetah pairing, the move is not uncommon at zoos. “Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” explained animal curator Tim Smith. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life."

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Cheetah and puppy at busch gardens 4Photo credits: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The Cheetah and puppy each received names yesterday selected by the public. The Cheetah's name, Kasi" means "one with speed" while the Lab's name, Mtani, means "close friend" in Swahili. See pics of Kasi as a young cub here.


Feisty Puppies Emerge to Frolic

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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

African Wild Dogs looking for trouble at Ail Ain Wildlife Park

African Wild Dogs get ready to rock at Ail Ain Wildlife Park

African Wild Dogs on the hunt with mom

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Ten (10!!!) African Wild Dog Puppies Born at Brookfield Zoo

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Now that's a fine litter! The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the Brookfield Zoo, proudly announced the birth of not one, not two, but TEN African Wild Dog puppies. This pile of pups was only the third (and final) litter of African Wild Dogs to be born in North American zoos in 2010. Today veterinarians performed physicals and vaccinations on the pups. African Wild Dogs are endangered in the wild due to human encroachment, diseases transmitted from domestic dogs, snaring and poisoning. “This litter is critically important to the managed population of African wild dogs in North America. We are excited about the role the puppies will play in inspiring a connection between our guests and these incredible animals, as well as communicating the plight of these dogs’ counterparts in the wild,” said Amy Roberts, curator of mammals for the Chicago Zoological Society.

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All photo and video credits: Chicago Zoological Society

More photos and information below the fold.

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Maybe the Dingo Ate Your Kibble...

Dingoes are not domestic dogs but boy does this little pup look like one! New Zealand's Wellington Zoo welcomed a new Dingo puppy from Australia this past Friday, July 23rd. There is a common misconception that Dingoes were simply domestic dogs that went wild but they are actually a distinct evolutionary line. The most popular theory suggests that Australian Dingo developed from semi-tame wolf-like ancestors that accompanied humans to the continent around 4,000 years ago.

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Baby Bush Dogs!

In late May, Chester Zoo welcomed a litter of seven Bush Dog pups, which were photographed by Gary Wilson. Like wolves and domestic dogs, the Bush Dog is a member of the canine family (Canidae) but the relationship is distant and they developed to look very different. In fact, Bush Dogs descended from Maned Wolves which are themselves not closely related to any other living wolf or fox. Small and shy, Bush Dogs were first discovered as fossils in Brazilian caves in the 1800s and scientists were suprised when they discovered living Bush Dogs years later. They are found in the wet forests and grasslands of Central and South America, where specialized skin between their toes makes them excellent swimmers.

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Photo Credits: Gary Wilson

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