Six rare African Painted Dogs born in the Perth Zoo have received their first major health check this week, two months after they were born as part of a global breeding program.
There are fewer than 6,000 African Painted Dogs left in the wild and zoos and conservation efforts are being made to guard against the species extinction, which could happen in our lifetime.
Perth Zoo’s endangered African Painted puppies have had their first health check-up and passed with flying colours.
The dogs were born in March to mom Muhumhi and dad Gibby with five new males and one female in the litter. The puppies are living in their new home, the zoo’s African Savannah.
The African Painted Dogs are considered one Africa’s most misunderstood predators is facing extinction due to the actions of humans.
Wild Painted Dogs are threatened by poachers, habitat destruction and conflict with humans.
As well as the breeding program, Perth Zoo also helps conservation efforts in South Africa by raising money through donations for an anti-poaching patrol unit and snare removal, which kills many Painted Dogs.
Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson praised the zoo for its work in helping save the species from extinction.
“The birth of six African Painted Puppies is cause for celebration and testament to the world renowned expertise here at Perth Zoo,” she said.
“The team co-ordinates the regional zoo breeding program for all Australian and New Zealand zoos, with the aim of breeding a healthy zoo population of African Painted Dogs to insure against wild extinction.
“With less than 6,500 of these animals in the wild, there is a real risk of this species going extinct in our lifetime, making zoo breeding programs more important than ever.”
When older, it is likely some of the pups will move to other zoos throughout Australia to share their genetics and partake in the regional breeding program to continue the survival of the species.