MIAMI (WFLA) – Zoo Miami has introduced a litter of highly endangered African pained dog puppies.
The litter, which includes one male and four females, was born on Jan. 23 and has been in seclusion in a den with their mother since.
Zoo Miami said because this was the 2-year-old mother’s first litter, extreme caution was used to ensure the mother and puppies were not disturbed for the first several weeks of the pups’ lives.
Until now, the mother and puppies have been observed through a closed-circuit television camera.
After zoo staff felt that the mother was doing an excellent job of caring for her puppies and everything was progressing normally, the decision was made to do neonatal exams on each pup on Wednesday.
Staff collected blood, gave the animals general physical exams, issued a deworming treatment and placed a microchip in the dogs.
At 6-weeks-old, the pups range in weight from 6 to 7.5 pounds.
Following the exams, the puppies were allowed into the exhibit with their mother and father for the first time.
There are less than 6,000 African painted dogs left in the wild, making them one of the most endangered carnivores on the continent.