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Our bush dog family make themselves at home

Posted by: Jenny Middleton
Posted on: 28 Sep 2017
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Last year we welcomed two beautiful bush dogs to Knowsley Safari, Simon and Lola. bush dogs 3.jpg

To everyone’s delight, this summer, Simon and Lola became parents to 4 incredibly adorable pups. This new pack is now ready to roam their habitat and discover what life is like as a much larger family group.

A huge part of the success of any breeding program is the environment. Here at Knowsley, creating the right habitat for each of our animals is of the utmost importance and our bush dogs were no exception.


So how do we start creating a habitat?

With such a fabulous natural environment here at the safari, we were able to do great things with what we already had. We had naturally flowing water, long grassy areas and tall trees in the area, creating the perfect natural starting point!


What made this the perfect area?

Creating the perfect habitat demands research around the animal’s natural habitat and behaviour. When creating the bush dog’s new home we aimed to play to the animal’s strengths and mimic their home in the wild. We look at how and where they move in order to understand the animal and what it would naturally be doing. Did you know that bush dogs have webbed feet and are great swimmers? We did, which is why their habitat reflects this aquatic ability!

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Why choose bush dogs? 

We chose to home bush dogs for two main reasons. Firstly, the area that would become their new home was a perfect match for the species’ needs. They’re adaptive creatures and would do well in the weather and environment we have here in Merseyside. And secondly, bush dogs are a near threatened species; they’re at real risk of losing their native habitat and becoming even more vulnerable. There was a need to breed the bush dogs in order to conserve this animal, so we took on the challenge! Finally, we have the opportunity to study the behaviour of a very illusive and rare species. This information will be a vital contribution to the wider species knowledge.


What is about the habitat that helps the bush dogs?

We’ve kept the bush dog habitat as natural as possible. We want to keep the bush dogs alert, testing all of their senses and keeping them on their toes as they would be in the wild. The environment is a haven for natural wildlife, creating plenty new sights, sounds and smells for the bush dogs to investigate. It’s so important for us to think about our native species too, which is why it’s great to see kingfishers, tufted ducks, herons and other wildlife making this area their residence.


Why were the bush dogs hiding?

Many animals prefer not being out in the open. Without places to hide, they can feel vulnerable to predators. It’s for this reason that our bush dog enclosure is filled with a variety of different spaces, from bushy areas of vegetation to multiple dens across the enclosure. The more we give them, the more comfortable the animal will feel as they move between them. Bush dogs are also used to being in large groups, so with Simon and Lola’s young family thriving, we're seeing them become more and more confident to explore the area as a pack.

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It’s a great time to come visit the bush dog enclosure, so book your adventure now and find us on the foot safari!



Jenny Middleton

Article by: Jenny Middleton

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