On Thursday, October 27, one of the Oklahoma City Zoo’s 4-year-old female African painted dogs, River, was examined by the Zoo’s veterinary team after caretakers noticed considerable changes to her behavior and mobility after sustaining injuries to her hind leg. River had been on treatment and closely monitored following a shift in pack dynamics among our Predator Pass pack that led to some hind limb injuries. She was taken in for an emergency check-up when caretakers noticed that she had stopped using both of her hind legs. Our expert veterinary care team determined that River had a bone infection and was experiencing atrophy of her muscles. This examination led caretakers to the difficult but necessary decision to humanely euthanize River.
African painted dogs are social animals that live in groups between 2 and 40 individuals. They have a complex hierarchy that is usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair made up of the alpha female and alpha male. Both in the wild and in human care, African painted dog pack dynamics constantly change. This can be due to external stimuli as well as internal factors such as the age and health status of pack members. Recently, our Predator Pass pack of painted dogs experienced a shift in dynamics due to breeding recommendations that was monitored by our expert carnivore caretakers and veterinary care team.
River came to the OKC Zoo from the Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri with her sister Pele. Recently, the sisters were introduced to new male pack mates Guy and Remy, who joined our animal family from Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park in Tampa, Florida. Guy and Remy joined our pack on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® for African painted dogs.
The OKC Zoo is home to two African painted dog packs in Predator Pass and in Lion Overlook. The pack of five at Lion Overlook consists of 10-year-old matriarch Xena, her mate 9-year-old Dojo and their three offspring, four-year-old Tex, Back Slash and Spot. African painted dogs Pele, Guy and Remy will remain as a pack of three at Predator Pass.
Photo credit: Kayla F.