African Painted Dogs Zoo Exhibit Fatality

– – A tragedy occurred at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium late Sunday morning when a young boy visiting the zoo with his mother and friends fell off an observation deck rail into the pit of an exhibit housing 11 African painted dogs.

The wild dogs did attack the two-year-old child, although it’s unclear as to whether the boy died of the attack or the 14-foot fall into the exhibit pit.  Although zoo staff responded immediately to the incident and were able to call seven of the dogs off into a back building with darts shot at the remaining dogs, the animals were in pack mentality and not responding.  An officer killed one especially aggressive dog with a gunshot as it refused to move away from the child. 

African wild dogs have been compared to medium-sized domestic dogs, weighing 37 to 80 pounds and standing 24 to 30 inches high.  In the wild they are hunters that eat antelope, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, impala, and springboks.  They are also known as Cape hunting dogs, spotted dogs, and painted wolves, and are classified as endangered.

Zoo patrons were evacuated following the attack, and the zoo remains closed indefinitely pending further investigation of the incident. 


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2 Comments on “African Painted Dogs Zoo Exhibit Fatality”

  1. carycomic Says:

    The poor parents are likely to welcome such endangerment. 😦


    • vulpesffb Says:

      The mother unwisely chose to position her toddler on a rail topping a fence several feet high, and I’ve seen parents elsewhere do or allow similar ill-advised things…


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