African painted puppies born at Monarto Safari Park
The park's youngest residents have started venturing outside their den.
Six adorable African painted puppies have made their public debut at Monarto Safari Park.
The pups were born in April, but have only recently begun venturing outside their den and playing with their four-year-old brothers.
Mum Bulu originally gave birth to a litter of eight, but one died while still very young and another recently had to be put down after developing an abnormal build-up of fluid on the brain.
Carnivore keeper Kat Ferres said it had been amazing to watch the rest grow into curious puppies.
“This species grows incredibly quickly, with the dogs weaned at three months,” she said.
“Our puppies have already had their first taste of meat and are loving it.”
Rather than hunting with the pack, however, the youngsters have their food regurgitated by their parents, aunts and uncles – yum.
African painted dogs lead social lives in a pack led by a dominant pair, with all grown-ups helping to care for any puppies.
They numbered more than 500,000 in the wild as recently as a century ago, but are now critically endangered.
Fewer than 7000 individuals remain in Tanzania, Zambia and scattered pockets elsewhere in Africa.
The puppies are not the first newborns to arrive at the safari park in recent months.
Keepers welcomed the birth of a zebra calf last month and nine Tasmanian devil joeys just before that.
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