Rare African Wild Dogs get their first foray outdoors at Cincinatti Zoo

Ah spring time! Everyone I know today seems to be sore from gardening over the weekend.

Life would be much simpler if we were African Wild Dogs.

The ten pups, born in January, got to try out for the first time Painted Dog Valley, their outdoor exhibit that gives them plenty of room to explore and places to dig holes.

Josh Charlton, curator of mammals at the Cincinatti Zoo said each of the pup was tentative at first.

“But it is easy to gain confidence quickly with a pack of 11 behind you!  Once they gained that confidence they were exploring every inch of the exhibit, even learning just how deep the running water was in the stream.

Each of the ten pups, named by their keepers, has unique markings that help staff identify them, but these distinguishing characteristics might be difficult to spot when the pups are running around in their exhibit yard.

It’s pretty joyful to see them out and about. My favourite line from one of the trainers:

Lucy, quit eating rocks!

There are about 534 African painted dogs, also known as African wild dogs, in zoos worldwide including approximately 103 painted dogs at 34 AZA institutions in the United States. Keeping them alive isn’t easy.

Their gestation period is approximately 68-73 days and litters typically include 6 to 12 pups, but can number up to 20. The mortality rate for African painted dog pups is 64 percent in the first year of life.

African painted dogs are known for their large, round ears and beautifully “painted”, multi-colored coats. At the turn of the 20th century there were more than 500,000 painted dogs in 39 countries.

Today, there are only 3,000 dogs in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa combined.


About the author

Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.