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HomeNewsGolden Retriever Cares for African Painted Dogs at Indiana Zoo

Golden Retriever Cares for African Painted Dogs at Indiana Zoo

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Recently, a zoo in Indiana has had the privilege of seeing growth in its African-painted dog population. These are not your average Chihuahua or Poodle. Instead, the African-painted dogs are wild and native to Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Four African-painted dogs pups in the wild
Source: Latest Sightings/YouTube

So, last week, Potawatomi Zoo in Indiana made an official statement about their new arrivals. Maurice and Bleu are parents of eight tiny African-painted dogs. The report clarifies that the parents have been unable to care for their pups properly. The neglect was so bad that five of the eight pups did not survive. 

Initially, the zoo staff wanted to refrain from interfering with the parent-pup nurture process. However, the loss of those pups made it necessary for veterinary experts and animal caregivers to step in.

Maurice and Bleu welcomed their eight pups in September, which would be the first for the duo and the zoo. Animal care experts suggest that the lack of prior experience with pup care is responsible for Bleu and Maurice’s inability to care for their pups. 

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Perhaps, if the pups had been sired in the wild, other members of the African-painted dogs’ pack would have assisted.

The African-painted dogs are native to America. So, the zoo staff contacted conservation experts familiar with the animals. The consultation team has been involved in developing a repopulation plan for this endangered species. However, no one foresaw that African-painted dogs would have difficulties raising their pups away from the wild. 

Bottle feeding is an option for the zoo staff to escape the situation. However, after consulting with the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare, an alternative was provided. The Council linked the zoo with a golden retriever. The lactating dog had recently given birth to puppies. Luckily, Kassy, the golden retriever, was welcoming of the African-painted dogs. 

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Kassy cared for and nursed the African-painted dogs like they were hers. Right after Kassy arrived at the zoo, all eight of the African-painted dogs were introduced to her litter. However, despite the 24-hour surveillance by staff members, five of the pups were weak beyond redemption. Eventually, only three of the pups grew to stability. 

The three African-painted dogs don’t have names yet, but they are identified by their tracking colors — Orange, Red, and Blue. Of course, Kassy cannot raise the surrogate pups forever.

So, zoo staff have created a shelter for the three pups next to that of the adult African-painted dogs. Initially, they tried to reintroduce the pups directly, but even their parents — Maurice and Bleu — were not entirely receptive to them. 

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The animal welfare staff at Potawatomi Zoo are looking for seamless development in the 11-week-old pups. They will be reintroduced to the pack by the time they are adults. The African-painted dogs are a wild species native to the tropics of Sub-Saharan Africa.

So, putting an African-painted dog up for adoption is out of the question. They are carnivores that hunt animals way bigger than themselves. 

Though small creatures, African-painted dogs hunt in packs like hyenas and can kill large antelopes.

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