OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announced the births of 14 African painted dog pups born to mom Xena from November 17, 2016 to November 20, 2016.
Zoo officials say the pups will remain in their den away from the public during the next few weeks for important bonding time.
From there, they will then begin venturing outside for short periods of time.
"These pups are mom Xena's fourth litter and she has been taking great care of them," said Laura Bottaro, Zoological curator. "The pups look healthy and have been nursing. In the next few weeks, they will develop their initial tan and yellow coloring."
Xena lost her first litter, which is extremely common for first time painted dog mothers.
Her second litter included three pups born at the zoo in 2014.
They were initially raised by a surrogate golden retriever until they were weaned due to Xena's lack of maternal care. They transitioned to their new home at the Los Angeles Zoo last fall.
Her third litter included 8 pups born at zoo in October 2015, and remain healthy today.
"The new litter of pups is causing quite a bit of excitement with the eight yearlings. These older pups are now getting to learn about rearing pups which will increase their own chances of successful litters and families. Once this new litter is weaned, the yearlings will find new homes as recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," said Bottaro.
African painted dogs are critically endangered.
Research suggests between 5,000 to 7,500 free-ranging dogs exist in isolated populations of central, northeast and southern Africa.