The painted dog is one of Africa's most endangered animals and one of its least understood. It lives in complex social groups with family very much at its heart. As well as monitoring the dogs we support rescue and rehabilitation for injured animals and work with local communities to change their perceptions. Each year hundreds of young Africans attend the DSWF funded residential bush camp to learn more about the dogs, spreading a wider acceptance and understanding throughout their communities.
Painted dog populations have been devastated across Africa by human activity and misunderstanding. We believe that human activity, including community support and education, is now key to safeguarding the remaining populations of these endangered animals. Since 1987 our funding has helped to almost double the dogs numbers to 700 but the threat of extinction remains a real possibility for this fragile population.
Reliant on their alpha male and female, it has been proven that the loss of just one painted dog can devastate a whole pack. Having successfully supported the growth of painted dog populations in Zimbabwe through the education of thousands of children, the breaking down of myths, working with community groups and stepping up anti-poaching patrols, continued investment in the protection of these populations is crucial if they are to survive and thrive.
Zimbabwe is in economic crisis but our work means that hundreds of children can attend innovative education classes that help build a life-long appreciation of the importance of conservation and the painted dog, ensuring a lasting legacy for the country's wildlife and its children. By providing alternative livelihood programmes we are also helping to deter communities from poaching protecting the painted dogs which in turn creates a draw for valuable tourist income to boost the local economy.