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Limited Edition spotlight: African wild dog

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

This week, we released the first of six prints for our Limited Edition campaign, this one highlighting the endangered African wild dog.

With only 3,000 African wild dogs left in the wild, this is a species on the edge, surviving in scattered packs across sub-Saharan Africa, a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.

What isn’t fragmented is this species way of life in the pack—their social structure is remarkable. Even the scene at a kill for these carnivores is polite and orderly, with pups eating first while the adults fend off scavengers. How do they keep the peace? They frequently use ritualized gestures of appeasement to prevent any serious infighting. Most appeasement behavior is ritualized food-begging, but other gestures are familiar to anyone who owns a pet dog, such as whining, tail-wagging, and rolling over to expose the belly.

You can see some of their hunting instincts at work if you ever catch our African wild dogs enjoying a special enrichment treat, like the box full o’ meat seen here that they recently enjoyed thanks to some zoo campers who put together this enrichment for them.

Want to help us celebrate this species? You’ll find the original artwork by Fumi Watanabe up for auction this week (along with the other five, gorgeous works in the series) and limited edition prints available at the ZooStore West and online.

You can also purchase an African wild dog cupcake at Trophy Cupcakes locations through Sat., Nov. 20 and proceeds will go to support Woodland Park Zoo. A new limited edition endangered species cupcake and print will be released each Sunday over the next five weeks. Yum!

Artwork by Fumi Watanabe; African wild dog photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo; cupcake photo courtesy Trophy Cupcakes.