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Airdate: Jun 12, 2019
Scientist: Joshua Ginsberg

Wild Pups

Wild Pups
This month, African Wild Dogs are giving birth to a new litter of pups.

WILD DOGS - PupsHere's a program from our archives.ambience: African Wild Dogs, begging, whiningThough it shares some of the features of man's best friend, the African Wild dog is a species unto itself. And this month, throughout southern Africa, these wild dogs will be giving birth to a new generation of pups. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Josh Ginsburg is director of the Asia Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. He has studied wild dogs across southern Africa.Ginsburg: The wild dogs would probably have mated about a month ago and now the female will be getting very pregnant. She'll be looking for a place to den. Usually they'll use old aardvark holes which frequently are cut out of termite mounds. And they'll excavate them and the female will go down into the den and sometime in the next week or two she'll give birth to a litter of puppies that may be as large as sixteen puppies.Like domesticated dogs who have been released into the wild, wild dogs live and travel in packs, often migrating great distances each day. And this communal life style also characterizes the way these dogs raise their young.Ginsburg: Wild dogs are pure communal breeders. Only the dominant male and the dominant female breed and then they'll produce a very large litter of puppies. In the rare cases where sub-dominants do breed and you get two females in the breeding season, usually the dominant will kill the subordinate puppies. That sounds rather cruel, but it's necessary because for a pack of eight animals to raise more than eight or ten puppies and feed them for a year is impossible.For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our web site at www.pulseplanet.com. We've been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.