On Thursday, a group of critically endangered six-week-old African wild dogs – also called painted dogs – made their first appearance at Miami Zoo.
The man was born on January 23, and the male and four females were in seclusion with their mother in a den. Zoo staff observed the new mother with her young through CCTV cameras.
“Because this was the first litter for the two-year-old mother, whose name is Little Foot, great care was taken to ensure that the mother and puppies were not disturbed for the first several weeks of the puppies’ lives,” Ron Magill, Zoo Communications Director, said in a press release.
On Wednesday, the five puppies underwent newborn examinations, which included blood collection, general physical examinations, deworming treatment and microchip placement for identification. The zoo said it was the first time anyone had come into contact with it.
“After the tests, the puppies were given access to the exhibition with their mother and father for the first time,” Magill said. “After the initial fear, they followed their mother back home.”
Their father, Evander, who was born at Perth Zoo in Australia in May 2011 and arrived at Miami Zoo in November 2015 via Disney’s Animal Kingdom, showed an interest in the puppies, but their mother wouldn’t let him get close.
Magill said the pups will now have limited access to the monitored gallery “until they learn to navigate the gallery without any problems.”
According to Magill, less than 6,000 dyed African dogs are left in the wild, making this species one of the most endangered carnivores on the continent. Found in pockets of eastern and southern Africa, African Painted Dogs are cooperative hunters and usually in groups of six to 20, Magill said.
“This is the first successful birth of these endangered carnivores at Miami Zoo in nearly 20 years and is a very important part of a carefully planned breeding program to help ensure the survival of these amazing animals,” Magill said.
This story was originally published March 7, 2019 7:55 PM.