David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Community & Education: Painted Dog Conservation

The painted dog population in Zimbawe is under threat due to sustained snaring led by farmers concerned for their livestock. The perception of the dog as "pest" means that the painted dog is now Africa's most endangered carnivore and perceptions must be changed if the species is to survive.

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  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation




There are fewer than 5000 painted dogs left in Africa in four countries where their populations are still viable. In Zimbabwe the number of dogs fell to fewer than 400 to the point where extinction was a real possibility. The perception of the dog as a pest and a threat to livestock has led to its persecution. The project aims to shift local opinion in favour of the painted dog in order to protect numbers.


The solution lies with the education of the next generation of farmers, children who are currently still at school. A purpose built bush camp, "iganyana" (the Sindebele word for painted dog) introduces primary school children to the principles of conservation during a three day course, which includes game drives, night walks and a "meet the dogs" session. Around 600 children attend the camp and the intention is to increase capacity to and to reach even more children.