Protecting Painted Dogs

by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs
Protecting Painted Dogs

Project Report | May 9, 2024
Protecting Painted Dogs- May Update

By Eleanor E | Individual Giving Executive

Painted Dog: Andy Skillen
Painted Dog: Andy Skillen

The painted dog population in the Hwange National Park region has reached a significant milestone, with approximately 250 adults – the highest estimated population that the area has seen in over 25 years. It was estimated that one point in 2023 that there were four if not five packs utilising the core area where our partners operate, which is more painted dogs than have ever been seen in the region previously. Sadly, the constant threat of snares and traffic proved all too much for the Mpindothella pack and now only one painted dog from the original pack remains, a pup born in June 2023, who is currently resting and recovering in our partner’s rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately, in 2023 we were alerted to the fact that the Mpindothella pack had chosen to den only 80m from the main road between Bulawayo to Victoria Falls. This unfortunate decision resulted in four painted dogs being run over and killed throughout 2023. The pack was further weakened when the body of Clara, the alpha female was discovered later that year. Now significantly weakened by the tragic losses throughout 2023, the rest of the pack unfortunately succumbed to the persistent threats of snares and illegal hunting activities. This has left two if not three packs in the region with one pack seemingly dispersed from the core area and currently their whereabouts is uncertain. Despite setbacks like these, DSWF and our partners remain committed to these important painted dog conservation efforts.

To ensure what happened to the Mpindothella pack did not happen to any other packs, our partners have been focusing efforts on providing the absolute maximum protection that they can offer. An additional two, five-member teams, from the Mabale Community Anti-Poaching Units, were engaged to increase the number of boots on the ground. Furthermore, an all-female team was established with two regular APU members, Belinda and Debra, being appointed as Team leader and Deputy Team Leader respectively. This prompted a massive deployment strategy in Sikumi Forestry, where the three joint teams were deployed strategically within a 200 square kilometre radius supported by three Land Rover motor vehicles. This meant that any roads that were previously unusable due to a lack of maintenance were restored, making it easier to make rapid deployments. This operation was a great success and one of the key packs, the Kingsbury pack, successfully completed its denning and the pack suffered no further losses.

In addition to the challenges by from humans, our partners are confronted with the impacts of an ongoing drought because of the failure of the rainy season. This environmental stressor has led to the failure of maize crops, exacerbating food insecurity among local communities. Consequently, individuals resort to laying snares to catch food for sustenance, intensifying the pressure on wildlife and further threatening the survival of painted dogs and other vulnerable species in the area.

To further strengthen the packs in the region, our partners are currently in the process of importing 200 impalas into Hwange National Park in the hopes of maintaining the high population. Having a strong impala population is paramount for the survival of a painted dog population this high as the impalas are a primary food source for them. Furthermore, a strong impala population has the capacity to influence the reproductive success of painted dogs by ensuring an adequate food supply for breeding aged individuals. With abundant prey available, painted dog packs can maintain optimal body condition, leading to higher reproductive rates, increased survival of offspring, and ultimately, the growth and stability of the population.

After an evaluation of the overall performance of our partner’s entire anti-poaching units, it was decided that the organisation Game Ranger and Tracker Training Specialist (GRTRS) would conduct an intensive six week training course with our partner’s three units. The training began with the all-female unit, as they are the newest in operation. They successfully completed their training this March and the remaining two units will begin training in May.

Our Partner’s Children’s Bush Camp has had a hugely successful start to the year fostering a deeper connection between local communities and wildlife. Through education and outreach, we're witnessing a shift in attitudes towards conservation, evidenced by increased community support and volunteerism. Former camp students and community members are actively contributing to our conservation endeavours, resulting in a resurgence of painted dog sightings in the region.

As always, thank you for your generous support in providing a more sustainable future for the painted dogs of Zimbabwe, and the communities that live alongside them.

Stay up to date with our work and how your generous support is making a difference, receive exciting wildlife conservation stories and hear about forthcoming campaigns, fundraising initiatives, and events: Sign Up

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Jan 12, 2024
Protecting Painted Dogs - January Update

By Jo B | Senior Fundraising Executive

Sep 14, 2023
Protecting Painted Dogs - September Update

By Jo B | Senior Fundraising Executive

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Organization Information

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Location: Guildford, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DSWFwildlife
Project Leader:
Lawrence Avery
Guildford , Surrey United Kingdom

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