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One of the latest additions to the Zoo at Tayto Park is our two male bush dogs. Bush dogs, or maybe you might have heard them being called Savannah Dogs, are carnivorous canids found in Central and South America. While these two are quite confident and curious, wild individuals are shy and often difficult to locate in the wild. But thankfully zoos do a significant amount of research on many different species in captivity so they may learn more about their behaviour, diet, reproductive strategy and much more. Observing and studying animals in captivity is how we often learn the most about many animals that are hard to find in the wild.
Our bush dogs are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which means they have an important role to play in captive breeding programmes - just another reason why we are excited and proud to have them join our Zoo in Tayto Park!
The young pair of brothers arrived from Twycross Zoo (UK) in early May, and keepers are delighted at how well the move went. Moving home can be a stressful time, even for humans, so keepers paid extra special attention to the new arrivals making sure they settled into their new surroundings. A lot of preparation was done in advance before they arrived. Bush dogs are often found near water and even have webbed feet, so keepers had plenty of cleaning to do to get their pond ready. Our brilliant zoo maintenance team were also kept busy making brand new indoor and outdoor nest boxes, specifically designed for bush dogs! Positive re-enforcement training is also already underway with very successful results. Training through positive re-enforcement has made it possible to record their weights (with them willingly participating) which is an amazing way to monitor their health without any need for physical restraint, reduce stress and improve welfare.
Since they arrived, keepers have gotten to know this curious pair quite well and have named them Rogue and Bandit. Keepers have heard many visitors say they are like small bears. Maybe it’s their small stout body and short ears that make them look like bears? Or their rusty coloured head which blends into a beautiful dark brown? What do you think? Come and have a look for yourself during your next visit to the Zoo in Tayto Park. We love them and hope you do too!