Shaba and Her Daughters’ Pack

African painted dogs

African painted dogs are curious, clever, and constantly learning. It’s in their nature – and for one member of our pack, curiosity is practically written on her coat. Can you spot it?

Girls just wanna have fun and that’s certainly true of our African painted dog pack! These six gorgeous females include Mom, Shaba, and her five energetic girls: Greta, Peppie, Pammie, Lady, and Kiama. Talk about girl-power!

Because each painted dog’s coat is as unique as a human fingerprint, it’s easy for keepers to distinguish who’s who. Shaba, for instance, has a large white question mark on her left hip, validating her authentic curious nature. 

One of her daughters, Kiama, has fur in the shape of a white necklace around her neck, which is easy to spot during a tour. Look closely and you’ll see Peppie’s white heart between her hips!

African painted dogs are set apart from other canids by their artistic pattern, large rounded ears (which help them to dissipate heat), and social behavior. They spend about 80% of their time in close association with one another, more than any other species of wild canid, which explains why this group of girls spend most of their time playing, napping, or exploring their habitat together.

swift fox

They grow so fast

We will never forget when Shaba welcomed her youngsters in November 2018. These puppies brought a whole new light to the Endangered Wolf Center. They fill the air with chirps and squeals during their hours of play. The pond in their habitat rarely lies still as they splash, run, and leap into it to cool down on hot days. Their intelligence wows their keepers regularly as they pick up on new training behaviors so quickly!

Shaba and her girls are important ambassadors for their species, educating guests on the importance of habitat protection and the effects of poaching in Africa. Additionally, through enrichment and training, they create memories for guests that are impossible to forget. As our visitors fall in love with them, they walk away with a greater appreciation of all wildlife and a passion to ensure that these special animals have a future in their native lands.

Shaba’s personality shines when she interacts with her keepers. She has a strong drive to train and learn new behaviors, excelling at every step. This not only helps the keepers care for her but it provides an enriching experience for Shaba and her family. While there’s no doubt the meatball rewards waiting for her are motivators, you can tell Shaba is eager to learn, with her curiosity even more insatiable than her appetite.

Learn about our collaborative research study on African painted dogs

Why African painted dogs need your support

African painted dogs (Lycaon pictus) are native to sub-Saharan Africa but they have slowly been extirpated from most of their range over the past 100 years.  They currently survive only in isolated populations throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, including Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Due to persecution by humans, predator control programs, habitat loss, and diseases, it is estimated that there are fewer than 3,000 painted dogs remaining in the wild.

With your symbolic adoption of our African Painted Dog Pack, we will share updates about this vivacious group of girls and their family milestones. For many guests, a visit to the Endangered Wolf Center is the first time they learn about this incredible species, and we hope this impactful experience inspires them to advocate for wildlife here in the US and across the world.