Eleven endangered African Painted Dog puppies were given their first hands-on health check following their birth in April at Perth Zoo.

The puppies were each individually medically assessed, weighed, vaccinated just like domestic dogs and their sex determined by two teams of veterinarians who worked efficiently to reunite them with their protective parents quickly.

Senior Zoo Keeper, Becky Thomasson, said: “Since their birth in April, we’ve taken a hands-off approach to allow the pack to develop as they would naturally in the wild, but it is important to give each of the new arrivals a veterinary examination.”

“It gives us a chance to thoroughly check their body condition and also verify how many new little boys and girls we have!”

“We’re delighted to announce that we have seven feisty females and four males,” said Becky.

“Importantly they were all in excellent shape, with one tipping the scales over six kilograms, a very healthy weight for a 12 week old African Painted Dog pup!”

The eleven puppies were the result of matchmaking a Perth Zoo born adult female with a male bought to Western Australian from Altina Wildlife Park in NSW, introducing a new bloodline into the regional breeding program.

“Mother Kisuri and father Hasani have been perfect first time parents. They let the pups eat first, but also discipline them, setting the boundaries when required.”

“With less than 6000 of these dogs in the wild, there is a real risk of this species going extinct in our lifetime,” said Becky. “Zoo breeding programs have never been more important and the birth of these eleven puppies helps put their species a step further away from extinction.”

When older, it is likely some of the pups will move to other zoos throughout Australia to share their genetics and partake in the regional breeding program to continue the survival of the species.

Perth Zoo is committed to protecting African Painted Dogs in the wild by supporting wildlife NGO, Painted Dog Conservation Inc. Monies raised at Perth Zoo help fund an anti-poaching patrol unit and snare removal from the African landscape which causes the painful deaths of many Painted Dogs.

Those wanting to help save African Painted Dogs from extinction are encourage to adopt one of the puppies. Zoo adoption packages ensure more funds are poured into giving wildlife a chance of survival.