Denver Zoo Map
February 15, 2018

ENDANGERED AFRICAN WILD DOG PUPPIES BOUND INTO BENSON PREDATOR RIDGE AT DENVER ZOO

Four puppies born at Denver Zoo to make their public debut on Friday, Feb. 16

Denver Zoo is going wild over four endangered African wild dog puppies born here on Nov. 20, 2017. For the past three months, the puppies have been behind the scenes in their private maternity den under the protective care of their mother, Tilly. Keepers say the three male puppies, Nigel, Theodore Roosevelt and Livingstone, and one female puppy, Cholula, are healthy, curious, and playful, and ready for their public debut. Guests will have a chance to see the puppies every day from 12-2 p.m. in the Pahali Ya Mwana yard in Benson Predator Ridge starting Friday, Feb. 16 through the end of the month, and in various habitats throughout Benson Predator Ridge starting Mar. 1, depending on the weather.

With a worldwide population estimated at 6,600, African wild dogs—also known as African painted dogs—are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™ due to habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities and infectious disease. Denver Zoo is a leader in the management of African wild dogs within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), and has successfully produced 32 puppies since 2001. Additionally, Denver Zoo helps protect African wild dogs in Botswana by tracking them with radio and GPS collars to reduce conflicts with humans and promote coexistence between people and animals, and has been significantly involved in African wild dog research aimed at improving the management and sustainability of the species, including genetic, reproductive, and behavioral studies.

African wild dogs are native to the open woodlands and plains of sub-Saharan Africa. Full-grown adults weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at the shoulder. Unique characteristics of these slim, long-legged dogs include distinct yellow, black, brown and white markings, large round ears that contribute to their sharp sense of hearing, and front paws that have only four toes, rather than the typical five found on other canine species.

This is the first litter for Tilly, who was born in September 2012 at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2014. Her mother was born at Denver Zoo to our original alpha pair, Daisy and Judd. The father, Jesse, was born in January 2011 at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2015. All three adult dogs at the Denver Zoo—Tilly, Jesse and Cheza—came here under the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

For more information about Denver Zoo, including hours and admissions, daily schedules, events and membership, please visit DenverZoo.org or call 720-337-1400.