Sweet Bush Dog Mom Tends to Litter of 6 Puppies at England's Chester Zoo

"These six pups are very, very special," said Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo.

Mom Mana has her paws full at the Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England.

The bush dog gave birth to a litter of six puppies back in May, the largest ever born at the zoo. 

"Mana is doing a wonderful job of caring for her new pups," Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo, said in a press release. "We’ve seen fairly big litters of four or five pups born in the past, but never have we had a litter of six. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the keepers, as well as our pack of bush dogs, which is now 16 strong."

The litter, which is made up of two males and four females, only recently began venturing out to play after spending their first few weeks of life inside their den with their mother. 

“Once the pups are confident enough to stay out of their den for extended periods of time, they’ll each be weighed, sexed and microchipped," said Rowlands. "This data helps us monitor their progress and coordinate the endangered species breeding program, which is working to boost their numbers in zoos around the world."

Bush dogs face a number of threats in the wild, according to Rowlands, including deforestation, poaching and disease. 

"With such a multitude of threats putting their existence at risk — these six pups are very, very special," he said.