ZSL Whipsnade, Bedfordshire, will welcome a pack of endangered African hunting dogs to the zoo this Easter. The rare wild dog species, also known as painted dogs, will relocate from London Zoo to a huge new exhibit that has been built especially y for them.
The pack of five females – sisters named Malindi, BeeBee, Brandy, Donnie and Ginger – will make Whipsnade, the UK’s largest zoo, their new home. The painted dogs are so called because of their white, black and brown mottled coat, the pattern of which is unique to each individual.
Wild African hunting dog numbers are in decline, due to loss of habitat and conflict with farmers. They are now are classified as an endangered species and it is hoped that the pack will form a new conservation breeding group,
From a raised viewing platform, visitors to Whipsnade will be able to spot perhaps the dogs’ most defining feature – a pair of huge, rounded ears that not only help them to pick up vocal calls of pack members with their amazing hearing, but are also used to help keep the dogs cool.
Renowned for their social nature, hunting dogs live in large, tight-knit units. One of the most successful predators in the world, they boast a remarkable ‘kill rate’ per hunt of up to 70% compared to an estimated 30% for a pride of lions.
To help celebrate the launch of the new African hunting dogs’ enclosure, popular characters Chase and Marshall from kids’ TV show PAW Patrol are coming to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 April. The heroic pups will be making personal appearances at intervals throughout the day to see their fans.
To find out more about African hunting dogs, and to be among the first to see the pack in their new den; please visit www.zsl.org