Six endangered African wild dog puppies are thriving Friday in an underground birthing den with the help of their first-time parents at the Living Desert Zoo.

The wild dog puppies were born on April 24 to Beatrix and Kiraka in their private den, Living Zoo spokeswoman Erin Scott said.

“We are absolutely thrilled to share the news of these African wild dog puppies,” President and CEO of the zoo Allen Monroe said. “So far, Beatrix is doing a great job as a first-time mom.”

Over the past week, the wild dog family has been bonding well, Scott said, although one of the original seven pups died three days after birth.

“Through that continuous monitoring, we sadly learned one puppy failed-to-thrive and passed away at three days old, leaving six puppies to be raised by Beatrix and Kiraka,” according to Monroe. “As first-time parents, the zoo remains cautiously optimistic about the continued health and development of the litter, and is giving the family the opportunity to grow and bond without unnecessary intervention.”

So far, the animal care teams have not intruded on the wild dogs’ family time, but are keeping constant watch on the fledgling pack through den cameras.

This is the first birth for the canine species — also called painted dogs — at the zoo in a decade.

The remaining six puppies will receive a well-baby exam in about six to eight weeks, Scott said. In the meantime, the puppies’ eyes will remain closed for another month.

During the well-baby exam, the dogs’ health will be evaluated, along with the newborns’ gender.

In the wild, there are only about 5,000 wild dogs left, Scott said. The species is considered one of the most endangered African carnivores as habitat loss, disease and human-wildlife conflict ravage the populations.

For more updates on the Living Desert’s newest canine family, go to .

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