The recent arrival of 11 African Wild Dog pups at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s conservation breeding program is definitely a cause for celebration.
On August 25th of 2016, breeding pair Kimanda (female) and Guban (male) produced a litter of 11 pups. This was the pair’s second litter with the first arriving in late 2014. “The pups have recently emerged from the den and can be spotted out and about in the exhibit,” said Keeper Genevieve Peel, “especially in the mornings and at meal times.” Call ’em African Wild Dogs, African Hunting Dogs or African Painted Dogs if you like; just don’t call them late for dinner!
African Wild Dogs typically have large litters of up to 18 pups so a litter of 11 isn’t at all uncommon. “Kimanda is being a very attentive and nurturing mother,” according to Peel. “She will regurgitate food for the pups and at this stage they are still suckling but won’t be for much longer.”
African Wild Dogs are endangered in the wild and in fact, they are one of the most endangered large carnivores in all of Africa. Their decline is partially due to their susceptibility to canine diseases spread by domestic and feral dogs but human encroachment on their habitats, habitat loss due to human activity, and persecution by humans who regard them as physical threats continues to take a toll on this ancient canine species.