A pack of African wild dogs at Whipsnade Zoo now includes three new members in an effort to preserve the species.
The three males, Earl, Elvis, and Einstein, came from the West Midlands Safari Park to the zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, on February 1.
The staff is hoping that the males will form a new pack with the sisters Beebee and Ginger.
The two that "become the alpha male and female will be the only ones to have pups," according to zookeeper Sarah McGregor.
The other dogs will play a different, yet equally crucial, role in raising the puppies and offering support once they are born, she explained.
"Everyone is crossing their fingers that it won't take long.
It is evident that each of Earl, Elvis, and Einstein has a very different personality, and they have all been integrating well.
"Einstein and Beebee have already formed a bond, Earl enjoys exploring and is fascinated by all the new sounds and smells, and Elvis is quiet and kind and enjoys lounging in the springtime sun. " .
According to the zoo, African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are considered endangered in the wild, where they face threats from disease, habitat loss, climatic change, and human-wildlife conflict.
According to zoo company ZSL, there are just under 700 African wild dog packs left in the wild.
A mate with different genes from their own may require an African wild dog to travel more than 1,000 km in the wild, according to Ms. McGregor.
The arrival of Elvis, Earl, and Einstein ensures that Whipsnade will have a pack that is similarly healthy and genetically diverse, which is essential to our work protecting the species.
While this is going on, ZSL conservationists are working from Senegal to South Africa to ensure that African wild dogs and people can live in harmony while also helping to save the wild dog population from extinction. They do this by vaccinating domestic dogs in Africa against rabies.