Daring Painted Dog Puppy Rescue!

Eight tiny painted dog puppies were rescued by our project partners in Zimbabwe, after they carried out a challenging mission to dig the family out of their den – deep underground.

Painted dog puppy held as rescued

The team at the DSWF funded Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) project were called out to save the pups, after disgruntled villagers in Phindo reported that the adults had been killing their livestock.

The PDC rescue workers located the den and laid traps for the parents overnight. As dawn broke, the team set about digging down through seven metres of earth to reach the pups, which were brought to safety.

Painted dog puppy lifted from deep den as rescued

“It doesn’t get more intense than that – it’s not something that we would choose to do but in this case we had little option,” said Peter Blinston, PDC’s Executive Director.

“The pack of two dogs had been killing local people’s goats and the villagers were suffering huge losses and did not know how to deal with the dogs if they continued to be in the area. It is not inconceivable that the dogs could at the end have been killed if we hadn’t acted.

“But we are happy to announce that the Phindo operation was a success. The two alphas and their eight pups were successfully captured and moved from Phindo, a communal land where they had denned, to our rehabilitation facility in Hwange.”

Painted dog puppy rescue

The eight pups are thought to be about three weeks old and are now settling into their new temporary home at the PDC centre. The family will stay there for three to four months, before the process begins of returning them to the wild where they belong.

The rescue operation was a fitting way for Peter and PDC’s Chief Tracker Jealous Mpofu to celebrate their 20th anniversary working together saving painted dogs!

staff at the painted dog puppy rescue
Peter and Jealous

Painted dogs – or African wild dogs – are unique to Africa and are among the continent’s most endangered species. Fewer than 3-5,000 of the animals survive in viable populations in just four countries. Since the PDC project began in 1992, dog numbers have risen from 400 to approximately 750 in Zimbabwe today.

DSWF funds PDC’s work with communities in Zimbabwe to conserve the species in one of its last strongholds. DSWF funds vital anti-poaching work and education programmes to encourage tolerance for the dogs from local communities and land owners.

Please help us give painted dogs a future by making a donation here.

You can also support our work by ‘adopting’ a painted dog – your adoption pack will include a wonderful mounted print of an exclusive signed sketch by Wildlife Artist of the Year winner Matthew Polluk, an adoption certificate, a fact sheet and a photograph. Adopt your painted dog now!

painted dog sits