African Wild Dogs at the Denver Zoo


About five months ago, four African wild dog puppies were born at the Denver Zoo. On November 20 of 2017, Tilly, the six-year-old female, gave birth to three boys, Nigel, Theodore Roosevelt, and Livingstone, and one girl, Cholula. African wild dogs have huge ears, which allow them to hear very well. They have a beautiful coat made of white and brown fur, along with black dots and black snouts. That is why they are also called African painted dogs.

The Denver Zoo is trying to get the population of the dogs up. Right now, they are on the endangered list, with only about 6,600 left in the wild. The zoo has now bred 32 puppies, from when they started in 2001. They currently have six: Tilly, her puppies, and their dad, Jesse.

When I went to the Denver Zoo, two of the keepers who work with the dogs talked to me about them. Kelsey Barker and Connor Miranda are a couple of the zookeepers who work there. They know a lot about the African wild dogs. One cool thing they told me was that the dogs are only partially color blind; they don’t know for sure, but the dogs probably can’t see reds. Interestingly, the keepers didn’t actually get to see the puppies until about a month after they were born. They could monitor them through a camera, but nothing else. Once they were old enough, the puppies could be given the proper vaccinations, medical needs, etc. Then they had to be trained to get used to humans looking at them and being around them.

African wild dogs are very social animals and show altruistic qualities. They take care of one another. In the wild, these dogs look after other mothers’ puppies. Barker and Miranda told me that they will not only regurgitate food for their puppies, but also for injured or older dogs.

If you ever get a chance to go to the zoo and see these cool animals, you should. It was an awesome experience to see how they interact with each other. I really enjoyed going to the Denver Zoo and seeing the African wild dogs.