|Categories||Carnivores, Communities, Conflict, Education, Mammals|
|Date||14 Aug 2000|
The Painted Hunting Dog, also known as the African wild dog, once occurred throughout the whole of sub-Saharan Africa with populations extending into North Africa. Able to utilise most habitats, they were even sighted in habitat as extreme as the snows of Mount Kilamanjaro. With the advent of the European colonisation of Africa, the dogs were mercilessly persecuted, even to the extent of being eradicated from national parks. They were reduced in numbers from 500 thousand to a mere two to three thousand and a great proportion of these are either in unsafe and prey-depleted areas.
Greg Rasmussen’s mission is 'Conservation through action and education'. His main goal is to conserve and increase the range and numbers of hunting dogs in Zimbabwe and - through research and experiment - provide conservation tools & education material that can be used to protect this highly endangered carnivore both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa.
The project has three main focus areas: to identify through research the problems facing Painted Hunting Dogs in Zimbabwe; to disseminate information regarding the problems facing this species and to actively reduce known causes of mortality and prevent those that are looming.
Greg has adopted a holistic approach that encompasses all the stakeholders, particularly farmers, school children and local communities. He believes that this is a vital component of any conservation effort, on the basis that people conserve what they love. One of the aims therefore is to turn what has been a perceived pest into a best-loved animal that the people of Zimbabwe are proud to have and empathise with.