Farewell to Aries, African Painted Dog

As the New Year dawned, the Houston Zoo bid a sad but fond farewell to Aries, one of our three African painted dogs.  Twelve year old Aries had lived at the Houston Zoo with pack mates Mikita, his nephew, and Blaze, his brother since their arrival from the Bronx Zoo in 2009.

African Painted Dog Aries
Farewell to Aries, the African Painted Dog

Painted dogs are incredibly social creatures, and they are known to mourn. As Aries’s health declined due to his advanced years, his nephew Mikita, the alpha male of the pack, took care of Aries by making sure that Aries received his share of the food. Mikita also slept next to Aries during this time, a behavior that is common within painted dog packs.

Aries was the most vocal member of his pack, often growling a few short “barks” at his keepers while he was eating. One of the most communicative social carnivores, vocalizing is very important in painted dog packs. The number of vocalizations they produce is thought to be second only to dolphins.

Aries - African Painted Dog
Aries, the African Painted Dog

Aries was a distinguished ambassador for his  counterparts in the wild. He represented all the African painted dogs the Houston Zoo works to save. The Zoo partners with an organization called Painted Dog Conservation, which rehabilitates sick and injured painted dogs in Zimbabwe and reintroduces them back into the wild.

Learn more about how the Houston Zoo helps African painted dogs in the wild

8 thoughts on “Farewell to Aries, African Painted Dog

  1. Such a sweet memorial to a much loved Houston Zoo resident. I love the smile on his face in his picture.

Comments are closed.

Want more?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Status Update

The Zoo will be closed during the day on Thanksgiving to be with our families.
However bring the family out after the festivities for a night of holiday fun with TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights! Gate will open at 6pm until 11pm
... See MoreSee Less

14 hours ago

Reed Roberson, Jessica Uriegas and 21 others like this

View previous comments

Dulce MartinezEl sábado estará abierto ??

13 hours ago

Comment on Facebook

Save the date to support your Houston Zoo on December 1 - Giving Tuesday!

Taking place after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday encourages people to donate to the causes and organizations they appreciate most.

Support the Houston Zoo by giving the Gift of Grub on Giving Tuesday to help us maximize TXU Energy’s $50,000 matching gift challenge before the December 31 deadline.

More than 6,000 wildlife ambassadors chow down many tons of food every year. Our elephant herd alone consumes 18 bales of hay each day!
... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago

View on Facebook
Animals In Action

Recent Videos