African Wild Dogs: the story of a new canine dynasty began to be written in the safari park

The birth of the female African WIld Dog Emili marks the beginning of a new chapter in the breeding of these animals in Dvůr Králové. It has no parallel among zoological gardens. The birth took place at an unusual time and the pack is raising a single offspring.

"This is a premiere for all members of the breeding trio. The pup, a female, is growing well and is starting to discover the enclosure of Josef Vágner's African Safari," says zoologist Gabriela Linhart. The female is the 388th African Wild Dog offspring in Dvůr Králové. The Safari Park is the most successful breeder and supports these extremely rare and hard-to-breed animals in Africa as well.

The pup was already born on September 14, but at the beginning the whole situation required a regime with the lowest possible level of disturbance. Now the little female started to leave the birthing box more often, even with the adults. But visitors will have to wait to see the interesting addition. The paddock is located outside the pedestrian part of the park.

By court standards, the birth took place at an unusual time of the year. Commonly, African Wild Dogs gave birth at the turn of the year. "We put the new trio together in the summer, which probably sped up the whole thing," adds Gabriela Linhart. The male Eddie and Emili soon formed a dominant pair, the third Ollie "settled" in the position of so-called helper. At the beginning of breeding, there were more pups coming from the kennel. They were probably killed by the adults, which is not unusual for inexperienced animals.

The female is the first addition to the newly established court line. Three-year-old father Eddie arrived from Sweden, mother Emili is almost five years old and was born in Dvůr Králové. Her mother is the legendary court female Fiona, who gave birth to 66 cubs and still lives in the exhibit of the Joy Adamson Carnivore House, in an enclosure with other non-breeding females.

A trio of adult wild dogs in a breeding enclosure in the African Safari. Emili is joined in the paddock by the cub's father, Eddie, and his brother, Ollie. Both were born in 2020 in Sweden's Boras Zoo. With Emili, they formed a harmonious trio similar to what would stand at the beginning of packs in the wild. There, too, only the dominant couple reproduces in the entire family group, and the other members of the pack help them with the rearing of the young.

The social structure of African Wild Dogs is completely unique and includes a whole range of behaviors that scientists describe only in a very small number of species. Among other things, the stronger members of the group share food with those who are weak or injured and thus help them recover. Thanks to their excellent cooperation, wild dogs are statistically Africa's best hunters and can take down prey much larger than themselves.
The Safari Park is the most successful breeder of  wild dogs among zoos. 388 cubs have already been born here. At the same time, breeding is very complex and requires great experience and special breeding facilities. Of the European zoos, in the last year hyena dogs were bred only in the gardens in Whipsnade, Sigean, Magdeburg and Dvůr Králové.
Thanks to the support of the public, it was possible to provide the medical material necessary for the veterinary care of the wild dog population in Mkomazi, Tanzania.
In the wild, the African Wild Dog is one of the most endangered animals in Africa. The IUCN estimates that there are about 1,400 adult dogs living in the wild in a number of scattered populations. In addition, stocks continue to decline. It is threatened by poaching, the loss of its natural habitat, as well as increasingly frequent conflicts with humans or the spread of diseases from domesticated dogs.

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