Al Ain: The six dog pups of an endangered African wild species, born under a conservation breeding programme, have been placed in an exhibit at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR).
Difficult to breed in captivity, the dogs were born in November last year in the park. They are recognised as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Farshid Mehrdadfar, Manager of the Animal Collection Department at the AWPR, said visitors can enjoy watching the dogs that are being taught how to hunt by their parents and other pack members.
"Our back-of-house environment with minimal disturbance and close veterinary and husbandry team observation enabled them the best possible start into their new life," said the manager. African wild dogs belong to the family of dogs, which also includes jackals, foxes, wolves and domestic dogs. Their large head and swift nature often misleads one to recognise them as hyenas.
The dogs were once widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the most viable populations exist in southern African countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Their dramatic decline has been due to human persecution, habitat loss, decline in prey species, and disease such as rabies and distemper. Because of the nomadic nature of these animals, it is impossible to determine the exact number and location of the remaining populations.
The AWPR's desert carnivore conservation programme also includes Sand cats, Arabian leopards, Cheetahs and African lions.