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Project information

Saving the Painted Dog in Zimbabwe

The painted dog population in Zimbabwe is under threat. Largely perceived as a pest by the local communities in the area, the dog is trapped and hunted to the extent that it is now Africa's most endangered carnivore. The Foundation aims to change the dog's status as "pest" to "much loved animal".


Charity information: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation logo
  • Need


    There are fewer than 5000 painted dogs left in Africa and only four countries where there is a viable population. The dogs are perceived as pests by the local communities who set traps and snares in order to protect their livestock. Unconcerned by the impact of hunting on the survival of the species, trappers had reduced dog numbers to as few as 400 in Zimbabwe. Thanks to a sustained conservation effort, numbers have recovered to 750 and the Foundation wishes to see this upward trend continue.


    The Foundation will work with the Painted Dog Conservation project to continue the monitoring and anti-poaching work that has proved to be so successful over the last few years. The anti-snare operation has now become one of the largest employers in the Hwange area.
    These conservation measures will work in tandem with an education project which aims to encourage tolerance for the dogs in the local communities

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce the number of painted dogs caught in snares


    » Continue to fund the anti-snare operations in the Hwange national park

    What success will look like

    Success will be an increase in the number of snares confiscated and a reduction in the number of dogs trapped.

    Aim 2

    To counter local perceptions of the painted dog as pest


    » An education and outreach programme designed to change the perception of the painted dog and its impact on the local environment.

    What success will look like

    Success will be fewer human/dog conflict situations and a shift in perception away from that of the dog as pest to that of beloved pet

    Aim 3

    To rehabilitate vulnerable dogs rescued from snares or ophaned through accident or trapping.


    » The project's rehabilitation centre will care for injured dogs and, where possible, re-release them into the wild.

    What success will look like

    Success will be more dogs re-released into the wild.

    Aim 4

    Provide alternative income generating schemes to deter local people from trapping.


    » The Project funds local artisan groups who use confiscated snares to produce artwork which is sold around the world.

    What success will look like

    Success will be a reduction in the economic need to hunt and snare animals for food and the generation of sufficient income to support local communities.

  • Impact


    The painted dog population in Zimbabwe should recover to sustainable levels and local people will better accept the dog within their communities.


    The poor economic situation in Zimbabwe means that the viability of many homesteads is under greater pressure. The need to protect valuable livestock may shift public perceptions of the dog once again. In order to mitigate this risk the project will direct more resources to anti-snare measures and anti-poaching patrols will be increased.


    The Painted Dog Conservation Project will submit regular project updates to the Foundation which will then be passed to its donors in an appropriate format. General updates will also be available on the Foundation's website and in its bi-annual newsletter, Wildlife Matters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £150,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £60,000 Anti-snare patrols Staff costs, transport, lodging and food and communications
      £35,000 Outreach Staff costs, travel, materials, communciations and marketing
      £30,000 Rehabilitation Staffing costs, maintenance, overheads
      £25,000 Veterinary care Darting, capture, medical supplies

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Wildlife Conservation Network £60,000 Guaranteed
    PDC Netherlands £48,000 Guaranteed
    Tusk Trust £16,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Hwange National Park in Zimbawe and the local communities within


    The painted dog population in Zimbabwe, but also local people employed by the anti-snare patrols - now one of the largest employers in the region.
    Local communities will also benefit from the success of the alternative income generating schemes, which raise awareness of the plight of the painted dog as well as provide much needed income for the region.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation has worked with its partner, the Painted Dog Conservation Project now since 1995 and is its longest and most loyal supporter. The Foundation's involvement in the project has seen dog numbers almost double thanks tothe conservation effort and the networks built and relationships developed provide a solid basis for the future of the project and the survival of the species.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Peter Blinston

    Project Manager with the Painted Dog Conservation Project and long term partner of the Foundation in Zimbabwe.