The Utica Zoo is welcoming a new species of animals under their care. A big welcome to Utica and Central New York to a new pack of African Painted Dogs.

The all-female trio of dogs recently made the trip from the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio and are named Charlie, Ada, and Rosie. The pack can now be found on African Ridge in the former Striped Hyena exhibit space; the Striped Hyenas moved to their new exhibit space next to the African Lions earlier this summer.

The addition of the Painted Dogs is yet another species under the care of the Utica Zoo that is listed as Endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states the number of mature Painted Dogs in the wild is decreasing, with less than 1,500 mature individuals left. In the wild, African Painted Dogs are found in Sub-Saharan Africa and feed primarily on antelope, warthogs, hares, and other small animals, and are considered extremely efficient carnivorous pack hunters. They maintain a strong and complex social structure and are known to share food amongst senior and young pack members."

African Painted Dogs face numerous threats in the wild that impact their numbers. Painted Dogs are most well known for their unique markings and coloring. While their patterning is unique to each dog, similar markings can be seen between family members. Pups are born with black and white fur and gain their brown/orange color fur as they mature.

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Another key features of a Painted Dog’s appearance is their large, rounded ears. Not only do their ears serve as incredibly sensitive means of hearing their prey or other dogs in their pack, they also use their ears to stay cool.

“We are so happy to be able to introduce our visitors to Charlie, Ada, and Rosie,” said Mark Simon, Visitor Experience and Marketing Manager for the Zoo. “The Painted Dogs are such gorgeous and unique animals, we think our visitors are really going to enjoy watching them frolic and play together all while learning more about them and being able to view an animal they may not have ever been able to see in the wild.”

For more information about this, or anything Utica Zoo related, visit UticaZoo.org.