Painted Dog Conservation
African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), also called painted wolves, are yet little known by the public. Listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List, they are among the rarest mammals in Africa. Less than 7,000 individuals remain in the wild.
The species is threatened by habitat fragmentation that increases conflicts with humans and especially shepherds. It is victim of snares, of collisions with vehicles, of poisoning, of infectious diseases transmitted by domestic dogs. Sub-populations with just a few dozen of individuals are particularly vulnerable in case of epidemics.
Formerly widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, painted dogs have now almost entirely disappeared from west and central Africa. Largest populations live in Bostwana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, the NGO Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) aims to conserve 300 individuals in an area located near Hwange National Park.
The PDC acts on several fronts:
- monitoring of the painted dog packs thanks to radio-collaring (identification of the individuals, behavioral and movement patterns study, health monitoring…);
- anti-poaching units (destruction of the snares set by the poachers);
- injured and/or orphan painted dog rehabilitation followed by a release once the animals have recovered;
- community education and development (organization of educational stays for children from local schools including the visit of Hwange National Park, creation of conservation clubs in schools, creation of tree nurseries and community gardens, biological farming training, running of an interpretive center about painted dogs, handicraft development…).
La Palmyre Zoo supports Painted Dog Conservation since 2018.
© PDC, F. Perroux.