A pack of four endangered dogs that went on display this week at Rolling Hills Zoo is already a hit with visitors.
Earlier this week, four African Painted Dogs went on display. Zoo general curator Peter Burvenich tells KSAL News that the four new animals are quite rare, in fact there are less than 5,000 left in the wild.
African Painted Dogs are the size of medium domestic dogs and can live up to 20 years. Their coats are mottled in shades of brown, black, and beige. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes. Burvenich says that each dog is different, much like a human fingerprint, in that not one of them is colored the same.
African Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are an endangered species. They face a number of serious threats, including habitat loss, human persecution from hunting and poisoning, and disease spread from domestic animals.
Right now there are four male African Painted Dogs, named Jesse, Taco, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Lee on permanent display at Rolling Hills. They were first brought into public view on Tuesday, and have already adapted well to their new environment. Burvenich says that they may eventually add females to the pack as well.
The African Painted Dog habitat is located where the Gray Wolves previously lived. In November, the zoo lost the last of its pack of four Gray Wolves.
The brightly colored new African Painted Dogs are already popular at the zoo.