The identity of the two year old boy savaged by a pack of eleven wild African painted dogs has been released as Maddox Derkosh who it is now understood had no chance of surviving the horrific attack after falling off the railings his mother placed him along in an effort to get a better look at the dogs.
At present it has yet to be understood whether the boy died as a consequence of falling into the 11 foot deep dog pit or as a result of being eaten alive by the pack who despite zoo keepers and later intervening police officers could not be kept at bay. Nevertheless it now appears that the child was indeed killed by the animals and not by the fall, making the boys death that more horrific.
Reports the UK’s dailymail: Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium said there is a net below the rail, but the boy bounced off it and into the enclosure.
She said the animals attacked the child so quickly that by the time a veterinarian and other zoo staffers arrived seconds later, they determined it would have been futile to try to rescue the child.
Authorities said that zoo staff and then police responded ‘within minutes’ but visitors described that time as being filled with screams for help.
It is also understood that in May of this year some of the dogs crawled under a fence and escaped into a part of the exhibit that’s usually closed. The animals were lured back in with food and no one was hurt. The escape has led to some questioning whether the dog exhibit was appropriate to maintain in the first place.
At present it is understood authorities and the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office are Police and the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office are investigating the incident and have yet to have interviewed the mother or father, Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh who are receiving grief counseling.
At the time of the incident the father was not at the zoo with his son and the child’s mother.
The incident to date has fostered a variety of heartfelt comments, as well as strong condemnation of the mother and to some degree the zoo.
According to the dailymail, the following is understood about the African painted dog:
The African wild dog is an endangered species which typically roams the open plains and sparse woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa.
The dog’s Latin name Lycaon pictus means ‘painted wolf’ because of the animal’s patchy colored coat of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur, each with their own unique pattern.
These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. In fact after a successful hunt, the dogs regurgitate meat for those that remained at the den.
They hunt in packs of six to 20 and despite their small size they prey on large animals like antelopes and wildebeests.
They kill the larger prey by disemboweling, a technique that is rapid but has caused this species to have a negative, ferocious reputation.
They are often hunted and killed by farmers who fear for their domestic animals and are susceptible to diseases spread by domestic animals.
Its large teeth allow it to consume a lot of bone in the same way a hyena does and it has a bite force quotient – BFQ, the strength of bite relative to the animal’s mass - measured at 142, the highest of any carnivore, except for the Tasmanian devil.
They are extremely aggressive and nearly 80 per cent of their hunts end in a kill – as opposed to a lion with a success rate of just 30 percent.
There were once approximately 500,000 African wild dogs in 39 countries, and packs of 100 or more were not uncommon. Now there are only about 3,000-5,500 in fewer than 25 countries