Tusk Trust - The Painted Dog Conservation © Nicholas Dyer

Painted Dog Conservation

The endangered African wild dog, or painted dog, has suffered a sharp population decline from over 300,000 in the early 20th century to around 6,500 today.

Living in co-operative packs and restricted to a few isolated populations in Eastern and Southern Africa, the main threats to its survival are from persecution, snares and disease. Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) works on the border of Hwange National Park to conserve this important population through patrols, rehabilitation, and local education and development.

PDC operates three highly trained and well equipped anti-poaching units conducting daily patrols throughout the Gwayi Conservancy bordering the Park. Since their formation in 2001 they have collected over 10,000 snares. PDC has also constructed a rehabilitation facility to treat sick and injured animals before returning them to their packs. The project has special links with 19 local schools, visiting regularly for environmental education sessions and bringing students free of charge to their ‘Iganyana’ (painted dog) bush camp. Since the collapse of tourism, local communities suffer from over 90% unemployment. As well as recruiting many local staff, PDC supports sustainable development by helping provide clean water for local villages, assisting with livelihood projects such as nutritional gardens and beekeeping, and promoting the sale of local art and crafts (including sculptures made from snare wire).

Tusk has supported the anti-poaching work of PDC and been a major donor to the construction and operation of the education centre. We also assist with the free education programme for local schools.

Urgent action is essential to protect the remaining viable populations of the iconic painted dog. PDC needs ongoing support to deliver its vital programmes.

Image Credits: © Nicholas Dyer

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