Taronga Western Plains Zoo is celebrating the arrival of 11 African Wild Dog pups to the conservation breeding program for this endangered species.
The pups were born on 25 August 2016, the second litter for breeding pair Kimanda (female) and Guban (male), who produced their first litter in late 2014.
“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,” said Genevieve.
“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.”
African Wild Dogs are endangered in the wild. They are the most endangered large carnivore in Africa.
Their demise is as a result of persecution by humans, susceptibility to diseases and also habitat loss and human encroachment. Current estimates have the population at just 6,600 adults in the wild.