I am…curious, clever, and constantly learning. It’s in my nature – and the nature of my species. (It’s practically written on my coat. Can you spot it?)

I am Shaba.

Shaba, along with her brother Mikumi, sister Akili, and parents Destiny and Selous, arrived at the Endangered Wolf Center in the spring of 2016. No sooner than they were reunited as a pack, they began doing what African painted dogs do best: exploring. Among the most curious of all canids at our Center by nature, they eagerly explored their pond, dirt mound, and the large field of green grass reserved just for them.

Shaba has a large white question mark on her left hip, giving her the nickname “The Riddler” from our summer campers. This high-energy hound and her siblings have grown up very bonded to one another and to their parents.

In the wild, African painted dogs are elusive. Yet in our care, Shaba’s big personality shines when she interacts with her keepers. She has a strong drive to learn new behaviors, excelling at each test put in front of her. While there’s no doubt the meatball rewards waiting for her are motivators, you can tell Shaba is eager to learn, with a curiosity even more insatiable than her appetite.

Shaba and her family help us educate guests on the volatile future of animals like painted dogs, who while already critically endangered, face challenges from ongoing droughts across Africa to becoming victims of trapping, trophy hunting or the illegal exotic pet trade.

Shaba, it seems, is the perfect ambassador. She’s such fun to watch during our Enrichment Experiences, where guests can them enjoy new and interesting treats to stimulate their curiosity. Join us for one and you’ll see what we mean. As you watch her pounce through each experience, perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of that question mark on her coat. What will their future be in the wild? How can we turn their fates around?

With your adoption of Shaba, we’ll continue to work toward those answers.

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