Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) was originally established as Painted Dog Research in 1992 by Gregory Rasmussen. During the first two years the human-induced carnage from snares, shooting and road kills accounted for 95% of all dog mortalities. Early public presentations showed prejudice and ignorance and it was clear that unless this situation was addressed, the species could become extinct. The initial emphasis was thus to identify the critical issues and develop a pragmatic and holistic strategy that would make a substantial, lasting contribution to Painted Dogs, nature conservation and, very importantly, to the lives of the local people.
PDC currently employs 55 local people in the following programme areas.
1. Anti Poaching Units: Our APU undertake daily patrols providing direct protection for the painted dogs, while at the same time making a significant contribution to Biodiversity, by protecting their habitat and the species they coexist with.
2. Rehabilitation Facility: Allows PDC to deal with any eventuality concerning injured or orphaned individual painted dogs or the translocation of entire packs from problem areas.
3. Conservation Education:
o Children’s Bush Camp: Teaches conservation concepts while promoting an emotional attachment to nature that will lead to a lifelong attitude of caring for it.
o Visitor Centre: Features an Interpretive Hall, which teaches visitors about the greater Hwange ecosystem, the plight of the painted dog and the significance of biodiversity.
o PDC has established Conservation Clubs at the local schools as an extension of our successful Children’s Bush Camp programme, the clubs undertake both practical and theoretical exercises such as tree planting, clean up campaigns, drama and poetry performances, which benefit their communities at large and further enhance and appreciation for and understanding of the environment.
4. Community Development / Outreach
o Iganyana Arts Centre: The Centre provides an income generating opportunity for an average of 25 artisans each day, who make unique crafts from reclaimed and recycled materials, including wire from snares removed from the bush by our Anti-poaching Units.
o Community Gardens: The aim is to improve nutrition and food security.
o PDC provides direct funding for or facilitates the drilling of bore holes to provide clean reliable water for communities, which in turns allows for the establishment of nutritional gardens.
o PDC facilitates the establishment of income generating projects such as bee keeping, chilli growing and the garden projects mentioned above, with the aim of improving the livelihoods of individuals and their families alike.
o HIV / AIDS. PDC arranges for and supports St Patricks Hospital, to established monthly counselling and testing clinics for our staff and the surrounding communities, to encourage people to live a healthier life style.
o PDC sponsors the local soccer league to engage the areas youth in a meaningful, motivational and healthy pursuit.