OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo just announced they added eight new members to their family.
On Oct. 4, 2015, eight African wild dog pups were born to mom, Xena.
Since their births, the pups have remained in their den away from public view.
Now, they are able to venture outside for short periods of time during feeding.
“Mom Xena has been taking excellent care of her pups since day one,” said Jaimee Flinchbaugh, animal supervisor. “The pups have primarily been nursing but recently started eating some meat on their own. They are developing their initial tan and yellow coloring, and look healthy.”
Since Xena was an unproven mother, the zoo’s animal care team monitored her via cameras in the dog den to be ready to intervene if necessary.
However, zoo officials say Xena demonstrated immediate care and protection for her newborns, and has slowly allowed the males of the pack to interact and play with the pups.
Xena rejected her last litter of pups that were born at the zoo in Nov. 2014.
Those pups were raised by a surrogate golden retriever until they were weaned.
Today, zoo officials say those wild dog pups are healthy and thriving.
An animal care team will conduct wellness exams on the new pups after they are six weeks old.
African wild dogs, also known as painted dogs, are critically endangered.
Research suggests only between 5,000 and 7,500 free-ranging wild dogs exist in isolated populations of central, northeast and southern Africa.