Pupdate #3May 5, 2019
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is excited to announce the healthy birth of six endangered African wild dog puppies to first-time parents, Beatrix and Kiraka. In the comfort of a private, underground birthing den, the puppies were born on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
African wild dogs, also known as African painted dogs, are pack animals with a complicated and strong social structure and hierarches. In the wild, packs can consist of up to twenty dogs, with an alpha breeding pair and other adults that assist in sustaining the pack and cooperatively raising the litters. They are cooperative hunters, who prioritize the feeding of the young, elderly and sick before healthy members of the pack. African wild dogs are very effective hunters, and the hunting pack members will consume and then regurgitate the meat upon demand of the pups, mother or other adults.
African wild dogs have the largest liter size of any canine – with an average of 6-16 pups. Within a pack, only one alpha female and one alpha male are the reproducing pair. All other members of the pack support the alpha pair and their liters. Unlike most social mammals, males remain in their natal pack, while females emigrate to join other packs at around two years old and continue moving to new packs until they have the opportunity to become the alpha female and breed. Wild dogs are native to southern Africa and the southern East Africa. They are diurnal, opportunistic hunters that hunt in cooperative packs chasing prey at speeds of up to 35 mph for over 3 miles.
Conservation Fact: In Africa, wild dogs often go after untended goats and sheep, leading to many conflicts that end up with wild dogs killed in retribution. We work closely with Painted Dog Conservancy to help support and improve their efforts to equip herders with well-trained domestic dogs that successfully keep wild dogs wild, and away from their goats and sheep!
Beatrix (mom) has begun to venture out of the den for food more often, which is brought to her by Kiraka (male). He will consume the meat and then regurgitate it for Beatrix to consume.
The puppies are 10 days old today. They are getting stronger and bit more coordinated.
The animal care team is maintaining their distanced approach to allow mom and dad to bond and rear the litter,; however, the team is continuously monitoring the litter to ensure everything is progressing well.