Jealous Mpofu joined Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) in March 1997. He was seeking an opportunity in life, after many years of frustration, working as a casual labourer for Zimbabwe National Parks. At PDC he heads up the team whose daily job is to track down and monitor the various study packs of painted dogs in Hwange National Park. He is responsible for reporting the whereabouts of packs in conflict zones to anti-poaching units, and he leads them into the areas to sweep for snares.
Speaking about Jealous, Peter Blinston, Executive Director at Painted Dog Conservation said; “He never worries about time or the day of the week or year. The dogs and his work to protect them come first no matter what. He refuses to give in and has worked round the clock when we have had to capture painted dog packs under threat and translocate them to a safe area. He is always the first responder to any incident in our areas concerning the dogs, quickly diffusing any possible animosity towards them.”
The announcement of Jealous’ win comes ahead of the 2023 Tusk Conservation Awards Ceremony on 27th November at the Savoy, London. The two remaining award winners will be revealed live at the event.
Jealous is a home-grown hero and has helped shape the future of the next generation. John Lemon, Chairman PDC Inc
Jealous has been an ever-present force in the evolution of Painted Dog Conservation. A dedicated role model to all the other staff. His profile with in the community is rising, with talk of him being elected as a “Head Man” in his village of Lupote, a position one step below the hereditary position of a Chief.
Jealous monitors five packs with a combined territory of more than 3,000 km2. He drives out each day, confident in his acquired abilities with radio telemetry, his inherent bush skills and his intimate knowledge of the dog’s behaviour. Often staying in the bush for days until he sees them, particularly if there is an injured dog in the pack. They are ‘his dogs’, he knows each one as an individual.
Jealous is a well-respected member of his local community and has been an amazing role model for aspiring conservationists. Having been schooled in the rural community he is testament that commitment and dedication and a passion for wildlife can be a rewarding job on both a personal and professional level.
If we don’t do something now, these beautiful animals will be lost to humankind, I want to be part of those offering tangible solutions and actions to keep the future of painted dogs secure. Jealous Mpofu
Lead image by Nick Dyer. Gallery imagery by Tusk, Nick Dyer and Will Burrard-Lucas.