Brookfield Zooâ€™s African wild dog pack recently grew by 10 little pups.
Six-year-old mother Kim birthed the sizable litter â€” six males and four females â€” on Thanksgiving Day. After weeks in a dark, hay-lined nest box, the puppies recently began to emerge and explore the world around them.
â€œWhat we wanted to do was give them the full time they needed to be with the mother,â€ said Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals. A nest box camera helped zoo staff see the puppies, but their small size and similar color made it impossible to count the pups until they left the den.
The zooâ€™s wild dog pack includes Kim, her â€œdominant maleâ€ mate Digger, 4, and Diggerâ€™s brother, Duke, also 4. The two brothers have spent weeks regurgitating their beef-based diet for Kim, who couldnâ€™t leave her puppies to find her own food. Now Kim is joining them in regurgitating food for the 10 pups.
â€œThis is normal behavior for wild dogs,â€ Daniels said. â€œItâ€™s really very exciting to see the social behavior with a group.â€
On Thursday the dogs were counted, weighed and vaccinated. Kimâ€™s litter was one of only three born in North American zoos last year. The other two litters are being raised by humans, Daniels said.
The dogs, one of Africaâ€™s most endangered carnivores, should be on exhibit at Habitat Africa! The Savannah as early as March.