Frankfurt Zoo is happy about four lively new additions
(kus) The spectacled bears have got company: Four lively forest dogs, three males and one female, have moved into Ukumari Land. The little wild dogs with the short tails came from Mulhouse Zoo in France. The species is now back at Frankfurt Zoo for the first time since 2000.
Four forest dogs have been living in Frankfurt again since the beginning of October, first in quarantine and then for acclimatisation behind the scenes in Ukumari Land. Since Wednesday, December 5, the animals can be seen at the outdoor facility.
Wild dogs (Speothos venaticus) are small wild dogs with a head-torso length of up to 74 centimetres and a relatively short tail. When fully grown, the animals weigh four to seven kilograms. "A distinctive feature of forest dogs are webbed toes. They have evolved as an adaptation to the animals' swampy habitat on the shores of lakes and rivers in South America," explains Zoo Director Prof. Dr. Manfred Niekisch. And indeed, forest dogs are good swimmers and divers.
The new additions are between one and three years old. The oldest male was born in 2014 at Mulhouse Zoo, two others in 2016 and the female in 2015. In human care, the animals can live up to ten years. Like many canine species, forest dogs live and hunt in packs and exhibit strong social behavior.
In Frankfurt, the forest dogs share an enclosure of Ukumari land with spectacled bears. "We have two concrete tubes lying in the ground to create hiding places for the forest dogs. We don't know if they always get along well with the bears, because forest dogs are little rascals. When they provoke our spectacled bears, it is possible that they want to show who is the strongest. But of course we don't expect any serious confrontations. Rather, the socialization of species is about behavioral enrichment," explains Niekisch.
With the forest dogs, four species now live in the Ukumari Land South America facility. Great anteaters and howler monkeys share one of the three outdoor enclosures. The forest dogs will initially only encounter spectacled bear Nobody, who - in keeping with the solitary nature of spectacled bears - is kept separate from female Cashu.
The natural range of the forest dogs extends throughout the northern half of South America. Despite their very wide distribution, forest dogs are rare in the wild. According to the IUCN Red List, they are considered potentially endangered. Larger predators such as the puma, but especially humans, are their natural enemies.
By 2010, both the International Stud Book (ISB) and the European Conservation Breeding Programme (EEP) were maintained in Frankfurt