Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pittsburgh Zoo Hosts Painted Dog Workshop

Over 40 experts from all over the world are attending the African Painted Dog Conference currently being held at the Pittsburgh Zoo. During the workshop the Zoo will introduce its own litter of painted dog pups to attendees. The litter includes five males and three females, born in January, becoming the zoo's second litter.

Dr. John McNutt, Director of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, says painted dogs are considered one of the most endangered carnivores in Africa. "They are endangered largely cause of loss of habitat and expanding human populations and their associated livestock. And like wolves in this country, in North America, painted dogs are considered a conflicting animal, ranging Cavour that conflicts with livestock."

McNutt says they have learned a lot more about the dogs in the past 20 years, originally getting unreliable information from African locals and then doing their own research. He says that while some there is a possibility for painted dogs to be reintroduced into the wild, there is very limited circumstances in which they could do so. African painted dogs learn from their parents while in the wild about how to behave and resist predators; teaching those behaviors in captivity is extremely difficult.

The pups being raised in the zoo's second litter reportedly love their outside yard, exploring and playing in their new setting. Usually painted dog pups have a high mortality rate in the wild and captivity.

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