New Litter on the Block

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Anastasia is a great mother to her pups.

Move over, “Brangelina”–there’s a hot new couple in Southern California! And to top it all off, they are an endangered species.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is lucky enough to be home to a pack of Chinese wild dholes, also known as the Asiatic wild dog (see Dholes: Why the Whistles?). The mother, Anastasia, was born here at the Park seven years ago. The father, Lucius, is a transplant (as many of us are in Southern California!) who was born at another zoo and came to us two-and-a-half years ago. He is almost five years old. We paired this very handsome couple in April of 2009, and in January of 2010, we welcomed four new pups into the pack! For first-time parents, they were both excellent with the little dholes! Their annual breeding season is in November and December, and about 65 days later, cute little bundles of joy are born! This year, we are thrilled to announce that they have added to their family with the birth of four more puppies, born in February 2011. Our pack has now expanded to ten dogs!

The one-year-olds are mischievous and rambunctious and affectionately called “hoodlums” and “hooligans” by the keepers. Now we have four more to contend with! We couldn’t be happier about it, though. As stated earlier, dholes are an endangered species, and keeping a healthy, thriving captive population is very important.

Due to the shy nature of these wild canids, they are housed in an off-exhibit area at this time, so we will keep you updated through blog posts as to their progress!

Kelly Casavant is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read her previous post, Pombe’s Big Adventure.