Painted Dog - Zimbabwe
We recently celebrated World Painted Dog Day on August 26th and took this opportunity to highlight the threats faced by painted dogs. Just a century ago, there were over 500,000 painted dogs in Africa. Today, that number is closer to 6,600, representing a 98.7% crash in their numbers – and with only 21% of the population (1,400) being viable, mature individuals.
The pressures of climate change, habitat fragmentation, and human encroachment are depleting both the home range and populations of painted dogs. In addition, mineral resource extraction and the expansion of agriculture across Africa is also resulting in shrinking habitats. This loss of space increases competition for land and resources between wild animals, including painted dogs. Painted dogs are being pushed from every angle into smaller ranges, where they are then targeted for poaching and indiscriminately injured or killed in snares.
For over 20 years, we’ve been funding anti-poaching teams working on the frontline of species protection and community engagement, as well as supporting immersive educational bush camps for children to learn about painted dogs and conservation. Through positive interaction with rural communities and children in Zimbabwe, thanks to ongoing support from DSWF, the painted dog remains a symbol of strength, unity, and perseverance within the area.
We support dedicated anti-poaching units that operate in and around Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Their recent work has been focused on safeguarding a pack of dogs that has moved into a treacherous region, rife with illegal wildlife crime. The determined efforts of the ranger team resulted in over 3,500 snares being removed from the area over the last year.
The work we do has a direct, positive impact in the regions where our supported projects and programmes operate. The Hwange and Sinamatella areas of the national park now boast 95 adult dogs, split across 31 packs, and with ten breeding units recorded – the busy parents of a grand total of 44 pups! With more incoming…
We are currently in the middle of denning season for painted dog packs. Veteran tracker, Jealous Mpofu, alongside a team of dedicated trackers in Mana Pools and Hwange National Parks, have identified recent den sites and are observing fascinating behaviours within the packs. During this period, the alpha female, and sometimes another pack member, tend to stay behind with the pups, safeguarding the den while the rest of the pack ventures out to hunt. Excitingly, our partners have confirmed denning activities of the Velakude, Umkhonto, Mpindothela, and Chowato packs in Hwange National Park, and the Nyamepi pack in Mana Pools. In the coming weeks, the expectation is that pups will emerge, and we look forward to keeping you updated on their progress.
Read more here: https://davidshepherd.org/news-events-insights/news/world-painted-dog-day/
Thank you for your generous support in helping us protect painted dogs.
Snare Wire - Credit Uganda Conservation Foundation