A beautiful extract from Shadows in the Forest by C D McClelland expertly describes the beauty and the plight of Painted Dogs, “Suddenly they were there. Lean, ghost-like shapes in the moonlight; their dappled coats of black, tan and gold, like ink spots on blotting paper. Only a new day would reveal their beauty. Only man could hope to prevent their extinction”.
If you have been to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, you will have undoubtedly seen our 3 gorgeous Painted Dogs, Ayandi, Nandi and Thabo. You may have also listened to one of the numerous talks our rangers give about Painted Dog conservation, and understand the grave threat of extinction that lingers over them. Painted Dogs are classified as endangered, with less than 7,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Population size is continuing to decline as a result of conflict with human activities, habitat reduction and disease spread by domestic animals.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) work alongside Wildlife Vets International (WVI), Painted Dog Conservation UK (PDC) and Painted Dog Research funding projects with an aim to halt the population decline of these fantastic animals. At the end of August WVI manned a trip to Zimbabwe to set up clinics for domestic dogs in villages surrounding PDC’s Painted Dog rehabilitation centre on the edge of Hwange National Park. Armed with 1000 vaccines, the team ventured to the African country aiming to increase the health of domestic dogs, creating a disease barrier around the area Painted Dogs frequently pass through. 1000 vaccines had always been too many on previous trips, however this year the team ran out after day 4, unfortunately the clinic had to be cancelled on the 5th day, highlighting how popular the clinic was with the African villagers.
Not only did the team go out there to prevent the spread of disease, they also went to educate the African villagers about living in harmony with Painted Dogs. While villagers waited for their domestic dogs to be vaccinated, wormed, de-flea’d, treated for minor injuries and neutered the PDC team talked to them about the benefits of living with Painted Dogs and other parts of the PDC programme.
PDC are looking to go out again this autumn with an aim to vaccinate a further 800 dogs (including the cancelled dog vaccinations from the August trip), these trips are crucial for reducing the population decline of Painted Dogs.
WVI is looking to expand the project in Hwange and the Victoria Falls area where there has been a large outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), hiring more vets and collaborating with more organisations. They can only do this with the continued support of people like you who donate regularly to YWPF, PDC and WVI. If you would like to donate money to YWPF for Painted Dogs then please click here. If you would like to learn more about the work WVI and PDC do please visit http://www.wildlifevetsinternational.org/ and http://www.painteddog.co.uk/.
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