Current estimates place the total wild population at around 6,600 adults but there is much geographical fragmentation. Successful breeding programs such as the one at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo are vital steps toward the sustainability of African Wild Dog populations as time goes by.
As for the newly-enlarged pack at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Genevieve Peel states “The pups are now nine weeks old and continue to grow in confidence. From approximately 10 weeks old they should be visible most of the time on exhibit.”
The entire pack has involved itself in the raising of the pups just as it is in the wild, and their older siblings have been observed bringing them food as well as minding the new pack members while their parents patrol their territory within the zoo.
“The pups are getting really confident at coming up and participating in feeding time,” adds Peel. “It’s a great opportunity to see the pack rally and work together to devour their meal whilst caring for the pups’ needs.”
African Wild Dogs are one of the few large (measured by pack size) carnivores on the continent that are not under pressure for their pelts or for organic components of traditional Asian medicines – perhaps “tonics” is a better word. Even so, these native creatures are endangered as a result of other types of human activity.
It’s good to know the Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s conservation breeding program is acting in their interest to stem the tide of extinction one pup – or in this case, ELEVEN pups – at a time. (via WENN)