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Updated: 02/15/2018 08:30:03AM

African painted dogs at Lowry Park Zoo

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Two African painted dogs are at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.

Special to Highlands News-Sun

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TAMPA — New this year, families will be nose-to-nose with two new residents of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, critically endangered African painted dogs. The pair is made up of a male named Hatari, and a female named Layla. The duo is the “Alpha pair,” meaning they will lead the TLPZ pack. The pair can be found in a lush, expansive habitat designed specifically for painted dogs in Ituri Forest located in the Africa area of the Zoo. TLPZ is only the third AZA accredited Zoo in the state with African painted dogs.

The dogs are among the most endangered canids in the world. The largest populations remain in southern Africa and numbers are estimated around 6,000 in the wild today. Habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and diseases such as rabies and canine distemper are among the perils faced by these dogs.

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