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OKC Zoo Announces Births Of 14 African Painted Dog Pups

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The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announces the arrival of 14 African painted dog pups born to mom Xena from Thursday, November 17, through Sunday, November 20, 2016. The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announces the arrival of 14 African painted dog pups born to mom Xena from Thursday, November 17, through Sunday, November 20, 2016.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A day before Thanksgiving, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announced the births of 14 African Painted Dog pups.

Mom Xena gave births to the pups from Thursday, November 17 through Sunday, November 20. Zoo officials said the pups will remain in their den away from public view for important bonding time during the next few weeks until they 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 in zoo environments and in the wild. Her second litter included three pups born at the Zoo in November 2014, which were raised by a surrogate golden retriever until they were weaned due to Xena’s initial lack of maternal care. Today, those painted dogs are thriving and transitioned to a new home at the Los Angeles Zoo last fall. Xena’s third litter included eight pups born at the Zoo in October 2015 and remain healthy today.

“We have a very unique situation at the Zoo with a well-established pack,” said Bottaro. “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.”

The Zoo’s animal care team will conduct the new pups’ wellness exams after they are approximately six weeks old. Their genders will be determined at that time. The pups will continue to have access to their den and outside yard in their habitat directly north of the Zoo’s new animal hospital. The rest of the family remains on exhibit. As the pups grow, the Zoo will post progress blogs on its website, and share photos and videos on social media.

African painted dogs are critically endangered. Research suggests only between 5,000 and 7,500 free-ranging painted dogs exist in isolated populations of central, northeast and southern Africa. African painted dogs are known for their unique coat markings of yellow, black, brown, white and tan. They have large round ears, highly specialized shearing teeth and only four toes per foot. Painted dogs can grow to weigh up to 80 pounds. Normal gestation for African painted dogs ranges from 69 to 72 days.

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