African Wild Dog Pups
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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo’s two African hunting dog pups, one male and one female, that were born on November 2, 2010. Since the mother did not properly care for the pups when they were first born, Zoo staff has hand-reared the pups in the Nursery. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo also received a male pup from Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan on January 18,2011. This pup, who was born on December 1, 2010, was in a similar situation. Binder Park Zoo staff used a domestic dog surrogate to raise the pup, which is a newer technique being used by Zoos when the mother is unable to care for pup. Since African wild dogs are highly pack-oriented, the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African hunting dogs recommended Omaha’s Zoo and Binder Park Zoo integrate their pups together, with the hope of integrating all three into a pack.
The survival of this offspring is critical to the captive African wild dog population. Before any 2010 births, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) population was only 125 animals among 37 zoos. Besides Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo only two additional AZA zoos have reported offspring in 2010. African wild dogs are found in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa. They live in packs of two to 27 members and they have individual unique markings. African wild dogs are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Endangered. There are less than 5,000 African wild dogs remaining in Africa and they are found almost exclusively in protected areas.
The African hunting dogs are fed a special carnivore diet. The pack is on display near the Children's Play Area although they may be hard to spot. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and long lenses to assist in viewing.