African Wild Dogs Are New at Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo is excited to announce the addition of a new species: African wild dogs. This species is recognizable by the unique mottled coloration on their body and their giant ears. These wild dogs live in packs, working together to hunt, avoid predators, and raise their families. They are found in savannah and open arid habitats in Africa.

The Zoo’s four African wild dogs are an all-female pack and a subset of a pack from the Oregon Zoo. Their names are Grommie (short for Grommet), Cricket, Terra (short for Terracotta), and Sandy. The dogs are siblings and celebrated their second birthday on November 11!

“We are excited to share this new species with our guests and hope they will have an opportunity to watch them play. They all have distinct markings and we hope our frequent visitors will soon be able to distinguish each one from the other,” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoo Operations.

The wild dogs will be one of the first animals guests see during their visits to the Zoo, as the African Wild Dog habitat is just to the left of the entrance. The pack will have the ability to come and go from their habitat to their behind-the-scenes space as they become comfortable in their new home. They will need some time to adjust to the new environment but also to the new order. The most dominant dog, Grommie, has never led a pack before and will need time to adjust to her new alpha role.

African wild dogs are sometimes known as painted dogs or Cape hunting dogs. They are one of the world’s most endangered mammals due to human activities resulting in habitat loss, being caught in snare traps, and catching diseases spread by domestic dogs. 

“This species is critically endangered and faces considerable challenges in the wild. We are excited about this opportunity for our community to learn more about African wild dogs, their unique pack dynamics, and how we can support them in the wild,” Tygielski said.