Painted Dogs

Painted Dogs in Zimbabwe

DSWF funds vital anti-poaching and education programmes to help protect the Painted Dog, one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores.

Fewer than 3-5,000 African painted dogs (commonly known as wild dogs) survive in viable populations in just four countries. Since the Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) project began dog numbers have risen from 400 to approximately 750 in Zimbabwe today.

A highly sociable animal with complex pack dynamics means the poaching or killing of a single dog can have a hugely damaging and destabilising impact on the whole pack, making our protection and research even more vital in ensuring viable population growth.

Anti-poaching

DSWF funds the work of the PDC’s monitoring and anti-poaching teams which provide a blanket of protection for 10, 500km2 areas and have collected over 20,000 snares during their patrols. The team is able to identify behaviour patterns, hunting success and causes of mortality providing vital research data for protecting the dogs and allowing for strategic deployment of patrols in poaching hotspots.

Education

DSWF also supports the PDC headquarters, located near the main gate of Hwange National Park, and its education programmes to encourage tolerance for the dogs from local communities and land owners. In the immediate and local area surrounding the park the painted dogs have become a symbol for prosperity and hope. By supporting the conservation and protection of painted dogs the local communities have made the connection that a healthy dog population means greater funding for education and medical and maternity clinics in their areas. This positive conservation connection between wildlife and the standard of living has lead to a sustainable local movement of community based protection.

Over 10,000 children have been welcomed to the project’s ‘Iganyana Bush Camp’ since it opened in 2004 and DSWF funding means that this vital education programme is free to all grade six students from the 19 primary schools in the area. The educational philosophy and focus of the programme means the painted dog and other native wildlife become a part of their daily lives from a young age, impressing on them the importance wildlife can play in a co-existing future.

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Did you know?

Painted dogs have no DNA connection to domestic dogs