When Annie the African painted dog was brought to the Topeka Zoo last week, zookeepers knew that introducing her to three male dogs could be “tricky.”
She was brought to Kansas from the Bronx Zoo, though, “to be a mate” for one of the male dogs, according to a release from the city. This was part of a Species Survival Plan.
On Saturday, zoo staff introduced Annie to the three male painted dogs — Takoda, Ryker and Kellan, the zoo posted to Facebook. One of those males was going to be Annie’s mate.
“Introductions can be tricky and will most likely include scuffles,” the zoo posted. “Please understand this if you see some aggressive behaviors today or in the near future. All behaviors have been positive up to this point but we will intervene if we need to.”
That introduction, though, turned deadly.
Annie was first introduced to the alpha male on Saturday afternoon, the City of Topeka said in a news release, and it went “very well.” Staff then brought in the next “subordinate male” before bringing in the third and final male dog.
“That is when things went wrong for Annie,” zoo director Brendan Wiley said in the release. “She was attacked by the beta male and sustained life threatening injuries.”
Staff intervened, the zoo posted to Facebook, and the three male dogs separated from each other. It took two minutes for the fight to be broken up, according to the release.
Annie was then taken to a hospital with several wounds, according to the Facebook post.
“Annie went through the treatment okay and will remain under medical observation for the time being,” the zoo said on Saturday evening. “Her prognosis is guarded which means we do not actually know what her probability is of survival.”
Annie died from those injuries at about 10 a.m. Sunday, the city release states.
“We aren’t sure why the attack to occurred,” Wiley said in the release, but the city did say that African painted dogs have “an extremely complex social system” unlike other canines.
“That is one of the reasons they are facing such a hard time in the wild,” Wiley said. African painted dogs are critically endangered, according to the release.
About 6,600 dogs are in the wild today, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. The main threat to the species is loss of habitat.
“Over the next several weeks we will work with the Species Survival Plan to determine what the next step is for the group of male painted dogs that live here,” Wiley said in the release.