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Endangered wild dog pups take first steps outdoors

Walkies: Keepers at West Midland Safari Park are celebrating the arrival of three incredibly cute Asiatic wild dog pups PICTURES: SWNS

THESE adorable pictures show a trio of endangered dhole pups taking their first steps outdoors since being born at a UK safari park.

The three baby Asiatic wild dogs have been kept hidden away in their den by mum Berri after she gave birth to them at West Midlands Safari Park on March 9.

But this week keepers were delighted when they finally emerged for the first time at the Worcestershire attraction.

Staff were alerted to the pups’ appearance when they noticed them being carefully washed by their dad, Douglas, on CCTV before they ventured outside.

Heart-warming pictures show the trio playfully running through long grass and tenderly nuzzling their mother.

Keepers were able to give the pups their first veterinary check, microchips and vaccinations at ten weeks old.

Head keeper Lawrence Bates decided to name the pups after three of his team – Huw, Harry and Holly.

This also fits with the park’s naming practice that every animal born in 2019, must start with the letter H.

Senior carnivore keeper Huw Owen-Jones said: ‘It is an honour to lend our names to such brilliant animals.

‘Dholes are classed as endangered in the wild, so it’s great news for the species that we have such a successful breeding programme at the park.

‘The three pups are already developing individual personalities — Huw and Harry have already started squabbling, whilst Holly is a bit more reserved and sits back and takes it all in.

‘Mum Berri has done a great job and is a really relaxed parent, taking it all in her stride.

‘Douglas on the other hand is very overprotective and seems to keep watch over them more than mum.

‘The pups had their first day out this week and Douglas was always nearby. He’s great at taking them food and ensures they are always looked after.’

The dholes at the safari park are part of a European breeding programme, which saw the birth of the first litter of pups in 2015.

The latest births bring the total number of dholes at the park to 11.

Packs of dholes, which are native to Central, South, and Southeast Asia, are very social and work together to care for all members.

The safari park said the pups are lucky enough to have lots of aunties and uncles who bring them food, play with them and look after them.

One member of the pack, Bella, even spent a lot of time in the den when they were first born, helping to keep the pups warm.

Dholes are classed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to threats such as habitat loss, depletion of prey and persecution, stemming from retaliatory killings due to livestock predation.

The dhole pups are held in the Wild Woods part of the safari park.