Photo: African wild dog pup gets a health check up
December 14, 2007
African wild dogs are among the most threatened canines on the planet.
Living in the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa, wild dogs are threatened by habitat loss and killing as pests by livestock herders. Disease outbreaks also take a periodic toll on some populations. In total, researchers estimate that around 3,000 remain in the wild, down from a historical population of 500,000.
Nevertheless captive breeding programs are showing some signs of success. In October, six African wild dog pups were born at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The pups receive regular baby exams, including weighing and measuring them each week for the first several months.
Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS
In this week’s animal care photo by Julie Larsen Maher, Dr. Robert Moore, Wildlife Conservation Society Veterinarian, and Penny Kalk, Bronx Zoo Mammal Collections Manager, take a quick listen to an endangered African wild dog pup’s chest as part of the routine health care of young animals at the Zoo.
The pups are currently about 6 and ½ pounds and measure 18 inches from nose to tip of tail. These little guys will be on exhibit with their older siblings in the spring. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Research Associate and African Field Project Director Dr. Rosie Woodroffe hopes that these Bronx Zoo wild dog “ambassadors” will alert people to the plight of their wild relatives in eastern and southern Africa, where WCS biologists are working to save them.