Six tiny African Painted Dog puppies have made their 10-acre enclosure debut at Monarto Safari Park.
Born to mum Bulu in late April the pups have become more adventurous over the past couple of months, each day making it further and further out of the safe haven of their den.
The puppies join their four-year-old brothers Onika, Baraka and Kamali who have been spotted playing with the pack’s new additions.
Monaro Safari Park carnivore keeper Kat Ferres says the puppies have been a delight to watch grow so far.
“It’s been amazing to see these dogs grow into the curious puppies they are now” she says.
“This species grows incredibly quickly with the dogs weaned at three months. Our puppies have already had their first taste of meat and are loving it”.
Rather than being fed meat from a keeper or sharing a carcass with the rest of the dogs, the puppies will receive regurgitated meat from other members of the pack.
African Painted Dogs are very social and have a rich, cooperative lack life led by a dominant pair, with many pack mates supporting the dominant pair and their offspring.
One of Africa’s most successful predators, African Painted Dogs hunt in large packs that pursue their prey in long open chases. Once ranging through 39 countries with a population of more than 500,000 individuals the species has ancestry that can be traced back for 40 million years, however there are now fewer than 7,000 Painted Dogs in the world.
You can see the puppies in their exhibit at Monarto Safari Park, Old Princes Hwy, Monarto South.