News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

March 9, 2020


African Painted Dog Puppies Receive Neonatal Exams

Brookfield, Ill.—Today, March 9, seven African painted dog puppies born at Brookfield Zoo on January 13 received their neonatal exams, including routine inoculations, which they will also receive at 12 and 16 weeks of age. During the neonatal examinations, Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) veterinary staff also determined the sex of each puppy—five males and two females. The puppies will remain behind the scenes with their mom Ngala (pronounced EN-galla) until they are approximately 3 months old. It is anticipated that by mid-April guests will be able to see the puppies in their outdoor area at the zoo’s Habitat Africa! The Savannah.

The breeding of the alpha male and female was based on a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Painted Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for a species. Currently, there are 190 African painted dogs in 34 accredited North American zoos. Brookfield Zoo is one of eight zoos to receive a breeding recommendation for 2020. Lauren Gallucci, a lead animal care specialist for CZS, serves on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Painted Dog SSP Management Group. In this capacity, Gallucci assists in advising SSP members on topics such as breeding, husbandry, and medical management for the species.

African painted dogs have a social structure that is strongly cooperative, meaning members of the pack work as a team to raise the puppies, procure food, and protect one another. Exaggerated submissive posturing and vocal greeting ceremonies reinforce the pack’s social structure. “Once the puppies have access to outside, guests will be able to see first-hand how each of the individual animals fit within the pack’s hierocracy and see the behaviors that help keep the pack strong.” said Joan Daniels, curator of mammals for CZS.

Painted dogs have disappeared from much of their former range, making them one of Africa’s most endangered predators. According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the largest populations are found in southern Africa (northern Botswana, western Zimbabwe, eastern Namibia, and western Zambia) and the southern part of East Africa (Tanzania and Mozambique) The species’ numbers continue to decline, primarily due to habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and transmission of infectious diseases.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

Photo Captions—credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

7689: Chicago Zoological Society animal care staff each hold an African painted dog puppy. The seven puppies—five males and two females—were born at Brookfield Zoo on January 13 and received their neonatal examinations today, March 9.

7699: Animal care staff measure one of the African painted dog puppies during a neonatal exam on March 9.

7806: Dr. Lauren Kane, veterinary resident, performs an eye exam on a 8-week-old African painted dog puppy during a neonatal physical.

7952: Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine, and Ashlee Schaafsma, veterinary technician, examine an 8-week-old African painted dog puppy during a neonatal physical.

7984: Michelle Soszynski, senior veterinary technician, holds an 8-week-old African painted dog puppy at Brookfield Zoo, while Dr. Lauren Kane, veterinary resident, places a transponder.

8028: Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, performs an eye exam on an 8-week-old African painted dog puppy during a neonatal physical at Brookfield Zoo.


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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