After several rounds of ruff drafts, the Oregon Zoo's 12 African painted dog pups now officially have names. With the zoo in the homestretch of a 10-year-long makeover to improve animal welfare and sustainability, members and supporters selected construction-themed monikers for the entire litter. The winning names are:
A fundraising raffle with a voting opportunity generated support for African painted dogs in the wild and for the zoo's work to advance education, research and action for these endangered carnivores. 2-year old Ella gave birth to the six males and six females in November 2018, making them the first of this endangered species to be born at the Oregon Zoo.
African painted dogs are listed as Endangered by the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Ella, Brie and Juma — the pups' mother, aunt and father — came to the Oregon Zoo in 2017 based on a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for African painted dogs. Juma came from the Oklahoma City Zoo, and Ella and her sister Brie came from the Cincinnati Zoo.
The AZA has established Species Survival Plans for many threatened or endangered species — cooperative breeding programs that help create genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations to guarantee the long-term future of animals. These SSPs also support relevant field projects, research and public education to help prevent animal endangerment and extinction.