The African Wild Dog pups born in November 2015 have made their public debut this week.
This is the first successful litter for breeding pair, Kimanda (dam) and Guban (sire), and the first litter born at the Zoo since 2009.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome this litter of pups,” said Life Sciences Supervisor Jennifer Conaghan.
“Due to their nature and social structure, African Wild Dogs can be very challenging to breed, and to have this success is a credit to the expertise, patience and husbandry skills of our Zoo Keepers.”
The nine pups and five adults have been busy exploring their new surrounds, including four new beaches, a tunnel and some hills and mounds that have recently been added to the exhibit. The African Wild Dogs can be viewed daily in the very first exhibit on the Zoo circuit.
Taronga supports African Wild Dog conservation through the Painted Dog Conservation’s work in the Hwange National Park, where anti-poaching teams locate and dismantle snares including treating and freeing trapped animals.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has extensive experience working with African Wild Dogs having held the species since 1982. Keepers have become proficient in husbandry, breeding and pack development and movements, and have seen a large number of births to the program.
African Wild Dogs will grow to be the size of a medium size domestic dog however they are slender in body and long in limbs, weighing in at an average weight of 17 – 32kgs. Along with highly specialised hearing they also have unique markings of black, yellow, brown and white, hence are also known as “Painted Dogs”.