This goodbye is tough for the staff at Binder Park Zoo.

Kathryn Sippel, the curator of collections at Binder Park Zoo may as well be the parent of a student going off to college. “It’s going to be hard to see these guys go. We have cared for them since birth, watched them grow and develop personalities. To see the dynamics of their pack evolve has been a rare and fascinating experience."

This is Tamu, one of the four African Painted Dogs leaving Battle Creek's Binder Park Zoo, and relocating at the Houston Zoo. (Photo provided by Binder Park Zoo)

Four African painted dogs, Modo, Rafiki, Tamu and Wiki are heading to a new home at the Houston Zoo.  These four male dogs are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The four were part of a litter of eleven pups that were born at the zoo in November of 2018.

Binder Park Zoo explains that,

"Species Survival Plans are cooperative population management and conservation programs for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums. Each carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable."

This is Modo, one of the four African Painted Dogs leaving Battle Creek's Binder Park Zoo, and relocating at the Houston Zoo. (Photo provided by Binder Park Zoo)

The Zoo says African painted dogs are one of the most endangered carnivores in Africa, with an estimated global population of less than 5,000 and that population is declining due to "human conflict, habitat fragmentation and widespread diseases like distemper and rabies."

This is Rafiki, one of the four African Painted Dogs leaving Battle Creek's Binder Park Zoo, and relocating at the Houston Zoo. (Photo provided by Binder Park Zoo)

"We are fortunate to be the only accredited zoo in the state to have this incredibly unique species and we know that they are a guest favorite.” Sippel said, “But the time has come for them to move on, create their own pack and contribute to the conservation of their species.”

The details of the four dogs parentage, and more, are available at BinderParkZoo.org.

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