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Werribee Zoo welcomes new African Wild Dogs
Five African Wild Dog brothers have arrived at Werribee Open Range Zoo just in time to celebrate World Siblings Day today.
The two and three-year-old males – Neo, Leonardo, Nelson, Ziggy and Madash – bonded over a meat feast and a swim together on this special day.
Carnivore keeper Nicola McCleery said the African animals were settling into life at Werribee Open Range Zoo well and have a wonderful sibling relationship.
“The boys are very calm and are enjoying getting to know their surroundings,” she said. “They are a cohesive pack and really look out for each other, the more confident ones bringing meat to the wary ones during feeding time so everyone has their fair share.”
The endangered animals made the journey from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo Zoo recently and, after a veterinary checkup, were released into their newly-renovated enclosure where they will be important ambassadors for their species.
“When people think about carnivores they often think about Lions and Tigers not African Wild Dogs,” Ms McCleery said. “So for visitors to be able to get to know these active brothers is fantastic for raising awareness for the species.”
The African Wild Dog population has declined significantly in recent years as a result of human activity and habitat loss. It is estimated that there are now less than 1,500 mature African Wild Dogs remaining in the wild.
The species has many monikers, including the Hunting Dog and Cape Hunting Dog and is also known as the Painted Dog, due to its unique fur patterns.
African Wild Dogs live as a highly organised and tightly-knit pack, making them one of the most social mammals on the planet.