Protect the Pack! Painted Dog Protection Initiative
The painted dog (Lycaon pictus) is one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores with less than 7,000 individuals persisting in the wild. Zimbabwe is one of the last remaining strongholds for the species with the potential to support a growing painted dog population. Still, despite adequate ecological resources, painted dogs in Zimbabwe face tremendous threats from snare wire entrapment and vehicle collisions, which have been identified as significant threats to the species overall by the IUCN.
Painted dog packs are extremely social, working together to care for puppies, assist weak or injured pack members, and hunt for food. They rely on each other for survival, so the loss of just one dog to a vehicle collision or snare-related injury can devastate an entire pack.
To improve this situation, the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) painted dog team has created the Painted Dog Protection Initiative (PDPI). Our primary goal is to reduce incidental mortality of African painted dogs by facilitating the re-design and manufacturing of effective anti-snare, reflective tracking collars to prevent injuries and deaths from vehicles and snares. Through this initiative, we are also coordinating an effort to increase awareness and conservation support for the species by promoting painted dogs in conjunction with zoo-related events, primarily in the United States. Finally, we are developing an online and social media presence to connect those interested in promoting painted dogs to educational resources, event materials, and ways to help on-the-ground painted dog conservation efforts.To achieve these goals, we’ve partnered with Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) and the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) in Zimbabwe as well as the Houston Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) in the United States.
By facilitating the re-design, development, and deployment of protective collars, our initiative will improve the survival of painted dogs in Zimbabwe by directly mitigating threats of injury or death from vehicles and snares. Painted dogs wearing protective collars will have a greater chance at freeing themselves from a wire snare if entangled and being seen by motorists when traveling near roads, thereby increasing their survival in this region and improving their ability to safely disperse to new habitat. Protective collars could ultimately be used to improve survival within other painted dog populations in Africa and other species facing similar threats.
The Painted Dog Protection Initiative campaign is a collaborative effort being run by the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) Class 5 painted dog team: Enzo Aliaga-Rossel, Daniel Brizuela, Brandon Davis, Kelly Donithan, Kevin Green, and Katie McHugh.
For more information about the EWCL program, visit:http://wildlifeleaders.org.
For more information on PDPI, visit: http://www.painteddogprotection.org.