Barking success as wildlife park breeds six of the best

The wild dog pups are a triumph for AWPR

SIX African wild dog pups successfully bred at Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) are now ready to leave the den where they have been cared for by their mother since their birth in November 2010.

All six pups are now out on exhibit together with their parents and other pack members – a truly enjoyable and fascinating experience for visitors as they can watch the mature dogs teaching the pups how to hunt.

Farshid Mehrdadfar, manager of the animal collection department at AWPR, said: “The African wild dog is regarded as one of the endangered species among carnivores and is recognised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“Breeding African wild dogs in captivity is quite an achievement. Reproduction is seasonal and when new packs form, the alpha pair may not mate immediately. We are glad that the mother has delivered such a healthy litter of pups.

“Our back-of-house environment, with minimal disturbance and close veterinary and husbandry team observation, enabled them to have the best possible start into their new life. I hope that our visitors will enjoy watching this fascinating and social species which is badly in need of protection in the wild today.”

African wild dogs belong to the family of dogs which also includes jackals, foxes, wolves and domestic dogs. Their large head and swift nature often misleads one to recognize them as hyenas.

African wild dogs were once widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the most viable populations exist in southern African countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Their dramatic decline has been due to human persecution, habitat loss, decline in prey species and diseases such as rabies and distemper. Because of the nomadic nature of these animals, it is impossible to determine the exact number and location of the remaining populations.

AWPR’s desert carnivore conservation programme also includes sand cats, Arabian leopards, cheetahs and African lions.