African Wild Dog

First Litter of Rare African Painted Dogs for Zoo

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ZooTampa at Lowry Park has been celebrating the births of seven rare African Painted Dog pups. The multi-colored pups are the first of this endangered African species to be born at the Zoo. They also are the first pups born to the parents, Layla and Hatari, who both arrived at the Zoo earlier this year as part of a collaborative species conservation program.

Also called African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), the species is native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The global population is currently less than 6,600 and still declining due to human conflict, habitat fragmentation and widespread diseases such as rabies and distemper.

“We are one of only a few zoos playing as leading role in the work to save the charismatic African Painted Dog. The birth of these pups is a significant step in helping save the population that is under severe threat,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, senior vice president and chief zoological officer at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. “When we welcomed Layla and Hatari to our zoo, our hope was for a healthy litter that will be part of AZA’s African Wild Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP) designed to help to save this important species.”

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4_PaintedDogs_Print_11Photo Credits: Matt Marriott/ ZooTampa

The pups will stay close to their mother for the next three to four weeks before leaving their den. As the colorful pups get bigger and more independent, visitors can watch them grow up at the zoo and learn about what the ZooTampa is doing for this and other endangered animal species.

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Denver Zoo Goes ‘Wild’ for Quad of Endangered Puppies

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The news from Denver Zoo is that everyone is “going wild” over four endangered African Wild Dog puppies born there on November 20, 2017. For the past three months, the puppies have been behind the scenes in their private maternity den under the protective care of their mother, Tilly.

Keepers say the three males (Nigel, Theodore Roosevelt, and Livingstone) and one female (Cholula) are healthy, curious and playful, and ready for their public debut. Guests will now have a chance to see the puppies every day from Noon till 2 p.m. in the Pahali Ya Mwana yard in Benson Predator Ridge, through the end of the month of February. Starting March 1, they will then be in various habitats throughout Benson Predator Ridge, depending on the weather.

This is the first litter for Tilly, who was born in September 2012 at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2014. Her mother was born at Denver Zoo to the zoo's original alpha pair, Daisy and Judd.

The father of the new pups, Jesse, was born in January 2011 at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2015. All three adult dogs at the Denver Zoo—Tilly, Jesse and Cheza—arrived under the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

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4_AWD Puppies_Feb 14_2Photo Credits: Denver Zoo 

With a worldwide population estimated at 6,600, African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), also known as African Painted dogs, are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease are the main threats to their survival in the wild.

Denver Zoo is a leader in the management of African Wild Dogs within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), and has successfully produced 32 puppies since 2001. Additionally, Denver Zoo helps protect African Wild Dogs in Botswana by tracking them with radio and GPS collars to reduce conflicts with humans and promote coexistence between people and animals, and has been significantly involved in research aimed at improving the management and sustainability of the species, including genetic, reproductive, and behavioral studies.

African Wild Dogs are native to the open woodlands and plains of sub-Saharan Africa. Full-grown adults weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at the shoulder. Unique characteristics of these slim, long-legged dogs include: distinct yellow, black, brown and white markings, large round ears that contribute to their sharp sense of hearing, and front paws that have only four toes, rather than the typical five found on other canine species.

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Playful African Painted Dog Pups Make Their Debut

Rare African painted dog pups make their playful debuts at Chester Zoo (49)

Seven endangered African Painted Dog pups have made their first public appearances at Chester Zoo.

The playful pups scampered out of their underground den, led by their mother K’mana who had kept them safely tucked away since giving birth to them on November 19.  Also known as African Wild Dogs, it is the first time the endangered animals have ever been bred at the zoo.

Rare African painted dog pups make their playful debuts at Chester Zoo (7)
Rare African painted dog pups make their playful debuts at Chester Zoo (7)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo


Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said, “After spending six-weeks deep inside their den under the watchful eyes of mum, the pups have now come out and they’ve most certainly come out to play!  These rare pups are incredibly important new arrivals and a major boost to the international breeding programme which is working to try and ensure a brighter future for these impressive and beautiful animals.”

African Painted Dogs are one of Africa’s most threatened carnivores and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Conservation experts fear there may now be fewer than 1,500 breeding Dogs left in isolated regions of eastern and southern Africa.

Mike Jordan, the zoo’s Collections Director, added, “With human populations increasing in Africa and villages expanding, Painted Dog numbers have plummeted as their habitat is converted to farmland. This puts them in direct conflict with local people, where they are hunted and poisoned for killing livestock and exposed to infectious diseases transferred from domestic Dogs.”

For more than 10 years, Chester Zoo has been a vital part of the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust African Wild Dog Programme in Tanzania, working to return healthy and genetically diverse populations of Painted Dogs back to the wild. Zoo experts have helped conservationists working in Africa to re-establish viable populations of Painted Dogs, bred in special protected breeding areas in Tanzania, in two national parks – Tsavo and Mkomazi.

African Painted Dogs are named for their mottled coat with splotches of black, yellow, white, and brown. They live in packs and hunt cooperatively to bring down prey many times their size. They are known for their speed, reaching 44 miles per hour, and their stamina during hunts.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Painted Dog Pups Get Names - and Their First Checkup

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Eleven endangered African Painted Dog puppies were given their first hands-on health check following their birth in April at Perth Zoo. The pups also received their names!

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20245769_10155027817261715_5562874475391909893_nPhoto Credit: Alex Cearnes (1,2,4); Perth Zoo (3,5)



The puppies were each individually medically assessed, weighed, vaccinated just like domestic Dogs and their sex determined by two teams of veterinarians who worked efficiently to reunite them with their protective parents quickly.

Senior Zoo Keeper Becky Thomasson said, “Since their birth in April, we’ve taken a hands-off approach to allow the pack to develop as they would naturally in the wild, but it is important to give each of the new arrivals a veterinary examination.”

Thomasson said the exam revealed that the pack includes seven females and four males. “Importantly they were all in excellent shape, with one tipping the scales over six kilograms [13 pounds], a very healthy weight for a 12 week old African Painted Dog pup!”

The zoo held a naming contest for the pups, and chose these names suggested by fans: Aisha, Baraka, Chikondi, Kamali, Muhumhi, Onika, Skabenga, Tokwe, Tamba, Umfazi, and Zuberi

The eleven puppies were the result of matchmaking a Perth Zoo-born adult female with a male from Altina Wildlife Park, introducing a new bloodline into the regional breeding program.

“Mother Kisuri and father Hasani have been perfect first time parents. They let the pups eat first, but also discipline them, setting the boundaries when required.”

“With less than 6,000 of these Dogs in the wild, there is a real risk of this species going extinct in our lifetime,” said Thomasson. “Zoo breeding programs have never been more important and the birth of these eleven puppies helps put their species a step further away from extinction.”

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Endangered Painted Dog Pups Explore Their Exhibit

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A litter of six endangered Painted Dog puppies were born at The Wilds in December. After being cared for exclusively by their mother and the other pack members, the pups have now begun exploring the publicly visible areas of The Wilds property.

“The Wilds has managed Painted Dogs for years, but this is our first successful litter,” said Dan Beetem, Director of Animal management at The Wilds. “Even though we assembled a new pack last year in order to provide the younger dogs with the greatest opportunity to breed, we remained cautiously optimistic. Young mothers are often not successful with their first, or even second, litter. But Quinn, a first-time mom, surprised us by being an attentive caregiver from the start.”

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4_African Painted Dogs 7618 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus), also known as African Wild Dogs, are one of Africa’s most endangered species. These dogs have disappeared from much of their former range throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and their populations are continuing to decline; researchers estimate that only about 6,600 Painted Dogs are left in their native regions. Challenges with humans are the main threats to their survival, and the Painted Dog populations have declined due to continued habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and located in Cumberland, Ohio, The Wilds is one of the country’s largest conservation centers helping to protect this species’ future by participating in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program, which is coordinated to increase genetic diversity and population sustainability of threatened and endangered species in managed care.

Additionally, the Zoo’s conservation fund has supported 10 wild dog conservation projects in six countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. These grants cover training scouts in protected areas, educating children in local communities, recording populations in native regions, developing conservation corridors, reducing human conflict, and developing an effective rabies vaccine.

“At The Wilds, we are in a unique position to preserve some of the planet’s most amazing and most endangered animals,” The Wilds Vice President Rick Dietz said. “We are overjoyed and honored to welcome a new generation of African Painted Dogs, which could easily go extinct in our lifetimes if we don’t cooperate to save these animals.”

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Cincinnati Zoo’s Painted Dog Pups are “Cheese-tastic”!

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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden keepers recently selected some “cheesy” names for their African Painted Dog pups. The puppy cheese tray, born October 16 to mom Imara and dad Kwasi, includes Nacho and Muenster (the two males). The female pups have been named: Bleu, Brie, Gouda, Queso, Colby, Swiss, Cotija, Mozzarella and Feta.

“The only thing our primary Painted Dog keepers love as much as dogs is cheese! The cheese theme had an added bonus of offering a large variety of name options,” said Christina Gorsuch, Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Vice Coordinator of the African Painted Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP).

“African Painted Dogs are born white and black with portions of the black turning to gold when they are 6-8 weeks old. The white marks remain the same from birth; these unique markings will help keepers identify each pup for future vaccinations, physical exams, and day-to-day care. They will eventually learn their names which allow keepers to train them individually and teach important husbandry behaviors,” Gorsuch continued.

All the Painted Dog pack members are participating in the rearing of the eleven pups (one of the litter of twelve did not survive).

“The pups are seven weeks old and completely weaned from their mom’s milk onto meat. The entire pack is fed together 3-4 times a day in order to keep up with the demand of the growing puppy appetites. Anything the pups don’t eat is consumed by the four adults, who will regurgitate meat for the pups, throughout the day and night. They have incredible puppy energy and are running circles around the adults; everything is new and very exciting for them,” said Gorsuch.

(ZooBorns introduced the new family in an article from early November: "Endangered Painted Dogs Arrive By the Dozen")

Mom, Imara:  14500777_10154409897535479_3957877092265095920_oPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo/ Kathy Newton (Image 2)

African Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus) are one of the most endangered carnivores on the continent, with fewer than 5,000 dogs concentrated in parts of southern and eastern Africa. There are approximately 139 animals (55 males, 49 females, and 35 unknown sex) distributed among 33 North American Zoos and 564 in Zoos worldwide. The Cincinnati Zoo is currently home to 15 Painted Dogs.

The pack at Cincinnati has access to the outdoor exhibit when temperatures are above 50 degrees, so the first public viewing of the pups is likely to be in early spring.

African Painted Dogs, known for their large, round ears and beautiful, multi-colored coats, could once be found all over Africa. Today they are one of the most endangered carnivores on the continent, with fewer than 5,000 dogs concentrated in parts of southern and eastern Africa.

The Cincinnati Zoo supports the conservation of African Painted Dogs and other wildlife in southern Tanzania through the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP). The RCP works with local communities to ensure the survival of carnivores and people in and around Ruaha National Park. The third largest African Painted Dog population lives in the Ruaha region and is also home to 10% of Africa’s Lions.

The RCP documents the presence and location of wildlife species through community-reported sightings and photos taken by motion-triggered cameras, or camera traps. The project aims to gather baseline data on carnivore numbers and ecology and work with the local communities to reduce human-carnivore conflict.


PUPDATE: First Medical Exam for Litter of 10 Painted Dogs

Painteddogphysical3771Audubon Zoo's 10 newborn African Painted Dogs had their first doctor's visit last week and passed with flying colors.

Examining 10 pups is a big job, but veterinary staff and zoo keepers conducted the exam in just one hour, moving quickly to return the pups to their parents.

The exam, conducted inside the pups’ habitat, revealed for the first time the gender breakdown of the litter: five females and five males.

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Painteddogphysical3965Photo Credit:  Audubon Zoo

The pups received vaccinations along with eye, ear, and heart exams. They were weighed and photographed from multiple angles to assist animal care staff with visual identification.  The vets also inserted transponder microchips under the skin of the neck between the shoulders of each pup - identical to the procedure used for domestic pets.

The chips can be scanned whenever the animal is in hand to determine its identity. This will be especially important when a Dog moves on to another zoo to join or develop packs as they would in the wild.

Born on September 11, the pups’ birth is a first for the Audubon Zoo and a significant development for the highly endangered species.

ZooBorns first reported on the pups when they were released into their habitat after spending the first weeks of their lives in the den with their mother.

The pups will get two more sets of vaccinations over the next two months. Now that the sex of each Dog has been determined, zoo staff will name them in the near future.

The newborns are the offspring of first-time parents Sienna, 4, and Pax, 9. Only a handful of accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has bred Painted Dogs, one of the most endangered carnivores on the African continent.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Pack of Endangered Pups Emerge From Den

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo recently announced the arrival of eleven African Wild Dog pups!

The pups were born on August 25, 2016, and they are the second litter for breeding pair Kimanda (female) and Guban (male), who produced their first litter in late 2014.

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4_14753781_1209062335804312_2498235218252250916_oPhoto Credits: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

“The pups have recently emerged from the den and can be spotted out and about in the exhibit, especially in the mornings and at meal times,” said Keeper Genevieve Peel.

“African Wild Dogs can have up to 18 pups in a single litter, so it is not uncommon to see large litter sizes in this species. Kimanda is being a very attentive and nurturing mother. She will regurgitate food for the pups, and at this stage, they are still suckling. But this won’t be for much longer.”

The whole pack has been observed getting involved in the raising of the pups. The older siblings have been seen taking food to them as well as babysitting the newest members of the pack.

“The pups are getting really confident at coming up and participating in feeding time. It’s a great opportunity to see the pack rally and work together to devour their meal whilst caring for the pups’ needs,” Genevieve continued.

“The pups are now nine weeks old and continue to grow in confidence. From approximately 10 weeks old, they should be visible most of the time on exhibit.”

The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus), also known as ‘African hunting dog’ or ‘African painted dog’, is a canid native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the largest of its family in Africa, and the only extant member of the genus Lycaon.

The species is classed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The current population has been estimated at roughly 39 subpopulations, containing 6,600 adults. The decline of these populations is ongoing, due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution, and disease outbreaks. They are considered to be the most endangered large carnivore in Africa.

The African Wild Dog is a highly social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females.

Like other canids, it regurgitates food for its young, but this action is also extended to adults. It has few natural predators, though Lions are a major source of mortality, and Spotted Hyenas are frequent kleptoparasites (theft of prey by another competing animal).


Dozens Of Babies Steal The Show At Cincinnati Zoo

2015-04-02 Lion Cubs 1 626The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating a baby bonanza – dozens of babies have been born at the zoo in the past few months.  In fact, there are so many babies that the zoo is celebrating “Zoo Babies” month in May.Kea

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All the little ones have kept their parents – and zoo keepers – busy.  The three female African Lion cubs are particularly feisty, testing their “grrrl” power on a daily basis with their father John and mother Imani. 

Other babies include three Bonobos, two Gorillas, a Bongo, a Serval, two Capybaras, a Rough Green Snake, Giant Spiny Leaf Insects, Thorny Devils, Little Penguin chicks and Kea chicks.  “This is the largest and most varied group of babies we’ve had. We’re particularly excited about the successes we’ve had with the endangered African Painted Dogs and the hard-to-breed Kea,” said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo Executive Director.

See more photos of Cincinnati's Zoo's babies below.

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Retired Rescue Dog Lilly Saves the Day Again

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A remarkable Golden Retriever, named ‘Lilly’, is helping save a litter of endangered African Wild Dogs, at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, by becoming their surrogate mother.

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OKCZoo_African Wild Dogs and surrogate_5Photo Credits: Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden (Images 1,3); Jaimee Flinchbaugh (Image 2,4,5)

The African Wild Dog puppies, one male and two females, were born early on November 7th, to mother ‘Xena’, a three-year-old female. Xena, an inexperienced mother, showed a lack of maternal care, and the Zoo’s animal care team made the decision to remove the pups.

“In preparation for the birth, we had been monitoring Xena 24/7 by video. We knew that she was an unproven mother and wanted to be ready to intervene if necessary,” said Laura Bottaro, Animal Curator. “We are hopeful that these dogs will thrive in Lilly’s care and when they reach an appropriate age for socialization we will be able to successfully reintroduce them to their pack.”

Zoo caregivers provided around-the-clock care for the puppies and started the process to find a surrogate mother for the litter. They initiated calls to colleagues, animal shelters, and dog rescue groups to find a lactating, domestic dog, that was proven to be a good mother and comfortable with people. Luck would have it that Lilly, a retired search and rescue dog living in Wichita, Kansas, was able to fulfill the role of surrogate mother for these African Wild Dogs. Lilly recently gave birth to a single puppy, and it is being raised alongside the African Wild Dog pups. The puppies are doing well and will remain under veterinary care and out of public view at the Zoo’s animal hospital. 

“Even though Lilly’s not an African Wild Dog, she’s still much better suited to surrogate for our pups than humans would be,” said Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino. “This is a positive for both Lilly’s offspring and the African wild dogs, as they will benefit from initial socialization with a canine species.”

Working with a surrogate domestic dog is a new experience for the Oklahoma City Zoo’s animal care team, but a practice that has been used by other accredited zoos under the guidance of the African Wild Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP), of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). 

Both ‘Xena’, and the pups father, ‘Juma’, arrived at the Zoo in 2013, as part of a breeding recommendation made by the African Wild Dog SSP. Xena came from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While Juma hails from the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas.

More great pics, and info, below the fold!

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