Minnesota Zoo Celebrates Significant Birth Endangered Dhole Pups Born at the Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, MINN – May 21, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of two litters of endangered dhole (pronounced dōl) pups. These are the first litters ever born at the Zoo and are significant births for the species. Prior to these births, only 9 litters have been recorded in the United States. Dholes are very rare in United States zoos, currently existing in only two other locations besides the Minnesota Zoo: The Wilds in Ohio and the San Diego Zoo.
The pups, the first litter born April 12 and the second litter on April14, can be seen in their exhibit on the Northern Trail. They are currently in their “toddler” stage, just starting to move about and out of the den. Zoo keepers expect them to be outside of the den more often in the coming weeks. At this time, the exact number of pups is still unclear due to their behavior, but current estimates are around four pups. The two adult females are sharing maternal duties so the exact parentage of the pups is still unknown. The best view of the dhole pups is from the exhibit’s gazebo.
Also known as Asian wild dogs, dholes are a primitive canine species that reside in highly structured social packs. Highly adaptable, they live in diverse habitats in Thailand, Russia, China, and India in areas with plenty of prey, water and suitable den sites. Exclusive carnivores, the dhole’s diet consists of mostly small to medium-sized deer and wild boar. They den in abandoned burrows and have litters of up to 12 pups. All members of the pack care for the litter.
With less than 2,500 in the wild, dholes are an endangered species. Due to human population growth in Asia, major threats to the species include habitat loss, lack of prey, and disease from domestic and feral dogs. The Minnesota Zoo supports dhole conservation in Thailand.The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).