Six endangered African wild dog puppies born last month passed a well-baby exam with flying colors, officials from the Living Desert Zoo announced Friday.
“At one month old, we felt confident that the litter had bonded with their mother and were ready for their well-baby exam,” Associate Veterinarian Dr. Christine Higbie said. “All of the puppies are progressing and developing as expected, and have really grown since their birth. They should begin to venture out of the den very soon.”
Seven wild dog puppies were born on April 24 to Beatrix and Kiraka in their private den with one dying three days after birth, according to Living Zoo spokeswoman Erin Scott. During the exam, the veterinarian also learned that the new mom gave birth to five males and one female in her first-ever litter.
“Following the well-baby exam, the puppies were returned to the den, rubbed with dirt to eliminate the human smell, and then reunited with their mom,” Scott said of the puppies first-ever direct interaction with humans. “The animal care and veterinary teams will continue to closely monitor the family’s activity through den cameras which allow Beatrix and the puppies plenty of space, comfort and security.”
This is the first birth for the canine species — also called painted dogs — at the zoo in a decade.
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.
“We are so happy to learn that the puppies are healthy,,” President and CEO of the zoo Allen Monroe said. “Beatrix has done an outstanding job caring for her puppies, and we are excited to continue watching them grow.”
For more updates on the Living Desert’s newest canine family, go to www.livingdesert.org/animals/pupdates/ .