Bush Dog Whelps Now On Exhibit with Single Parent Dad


The pitter patter of little paws can now be heard as two male bush dog whelps explore their new surroundings at the Palm Beach Zoo.

Born on January 7, 2013, the whelps spent their first few months behind-the-scenes bonding with mom, Mediana, and dad, Oscito. Unfortunately, they will be growing-up without mom, who sadly passed away shortly after they were weaned. “Even though [Mediana] wasn’t in the best of health, she was able to give birth to and raise her young until they were able to eat solid food on their own,” said Zoological Manager Nancy Nill. “She held on as long as she was needed for the whelps. Now dad is a single parent taking great care of his young.”

Before they could discover what their new exhibit had to offer, the two boys received their third set of shots which included distemper and rabies shots. They were also micro-chipped.

Native to Central and South America, bush dogs live in many different habitats including lowland forests and wet savannahs. They travel in packs consisting of a single mated male and female pair and their off-spring. “Bush dogs are elusive by nature. A lot of what is known about this species comes from observations of these animals in captivity,” said Nill. “By having the birth of the whelps, staff is able to observe the dynamics of a bush dog family. Information gathered from observations like these could eventually aid in preserving them in the wild.”

There are only about 25 bush dogs in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Palm Beach Zoo now has seven of them. The new whelps are two of only three recorded whelp births this year.

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