Painted Dog

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Painted Dog

The Painted dog (also known as the African Wild Dog) in the rarest carnivore in Africa. At the turn of the last century there were tens of thousands roaming across 34 African countries. Today, there are estimated to be fewer than 5,500. A large population of Painted dogs exists in Zimbabwe where the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation funds work to ensure a future for this much maligned and misunderstood animal.

The Painted dog is a very efficient pack hunter but as numbers decline packs become smaller and hunting more difficult. They pose no threat to man but are often shot by farmers or killed by cars or snares left out to catch food.

Painted Dogs LOCATION

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The Painted dog once roamed across 34 African countries, today its range is much reduced and it survives in isolated pockets in south and east Africa with the largest populations in Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation works to protect the dogs in Zimbabwe, where there is a smaller but relatively stable population.

In the 19th century is was not uncommon to see packs of 100 dogs but today packs of between 10-20 are more common. Despite their aggressive image, all members of the pack demonstrate strong social bonds with the puppies protected and fed by the whole pack.

Once common across Africa the Painted dog is now under threat.

Painted Dog Facts

Painted dogs can reach the age of 9 in the wild.

They need little drinking water and rely on water gained from eating their prey which ranges from small antelopes to zebra and wildebeests.

Every dog has unique markings; a dappled mosaic of black, chocolate brown, gold and white which makes identifying individuals relatively easy.

Special collars are fitted to the dogs looked after by the project funded by DSWF in Zimbabwe. They carry a radio transmitter allowing the team to follow the packs more easily and protect the animals from snare wires strangling them.

There are a number of threats facing the Painted dog including being shot by farmers, road deaths, loss of food due to competition (from larger carnivores and humans), loss of habitat through human encroachment and death by poison, snare or disease.

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It is vital that we research and monitor the endangered painted dog.

Save the Painted Dog

You can help save the Painted dog by supporting the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's work either by fundraising as a school or an individual, adopting the the DSWF Painted dog or entering our annual art and poetry competition. 


Photography courtesy of Andy Skillen and PDC

Video © BBC Wildlife

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