Zoo welcomes five new African wild dogs in a bid to stop the threat of extinction
- Credit: Archant
Zookeepers at Whipsnade Zoo have welcomed a five-strong family of African hunting dogs into a new 8,500sqm compound.
The pack was transferred into their new habitat from ZSL sister site of London Zoo just in time for the Easter holidays.
African hunting dogs are one of the most successful predators in the world, using incredible ingenuity and stamina to orchestrate a hunt, but they continue to be listed as an endangered species on the IUCN’s Red List, with just 700 packs reported to be living in the wild.
Rosie Woodroffe, a senior research fellow at ZSL said that human-wildlife conflict is the main cause of endangerment in Africa: “ZSL’s research is developing ways to help foster a peaceful coexistence between people and African hunting dogs.”
The dogs can now be seen from a viewing platform and visitors will have a chance to look at their distinctive appearance; their mottled coat, huge, round ears and long muzzle.
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The enclosure is stocked with equipment for the dogs to use upon their introduction to the zoo, including a combination of soils to dig in, hessian sacks of giraffe and okapi bedding for scent familiarising, as well as balls, tubes, logs and blood trails to maintain the dog’s instinctive hunting behaviour
Zookeepers feed the pack using a zip wire in order to dangle the carcass into the paddock and move it like live prey.
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Zookeeper Steve White said: “We’re incredibly excited to be able to share with our visitors the work ZSL is doing around the world to protect this endangered species.”