Less than 450 painted dogs left in South Africa

Posted by Christie Fynn on 15 February 2012

I’ve mentioned the team from the Wildlife ACT Fund a good few times in my blogs about rhinos and wildlife. I visited the group of on-the-ground conservationists in Kwa-Zulu Natal over a year ago and they’re on a mission to save our threatened and endangered wildlife species from extinction, including the painted dog population.

I received this startling article written by Wildlife ACT Fund’s Dr Simon Morgan, about the very real threat that snaring is having on one of the world’s most endangered predators, the African painted dog (wild dogs). Snaring is wiping out our painted dog population. These snares can wipe out an entire pack in a matter of hours.

The Wildlife ACT Fund is helping to develop an anti-snare tracking collar, in collaboration with engineers and companies both locally and internationally. The collars will help monitors find individual animals on a daily basis and because they are specially reinforced and riveted, they can prevent the animal from choking to death. It also sends out an emergency signal once a dog is stationary for an unnatural amount of time, giving monitors and rangers time to respond to an emergency.

How can this be considered OK?

‘Jomar’ was one of the 450 African painted dogs left in South Africa. Now ‘Jomar’ is just a statistic, a very sad one at that. After watching him come out of the den for the first time and then seeing him make his way off as a dispersing male with his brother Reilly, it was heartbreaking to pull him and his brother out of snares just two days after leaving their pack.

We continuously hear about the brutal slaying of our rhino population in South Africa, but I would rather have a bullet to the head than a wire snare wrapped around my neck, cutting into me and suffocating me to an agonising death. The decimation of our painted dog population has been on-going for years and it is largely unnoticed.

The same people that are behind the bush meat trade, which sees thousands of animals snared in our national, provincial and private parks every year, are also the ones who ultimately end up with a rifle in hand shooting at our rhinos.

How can you help?

Wildlife ACT Fund has partnered with Woolworths South Africa to raise the profile of painted dogs and in turn collar as many of them as possible. The ‘Dog Gone’ reusable shopping bag is the first of four ‘Limited Edition’ reusable shopping bags that have gone on sale in Woolworths’ stores across the country. R9 from the sale of each painted dog bag will go directly towards Wildlife ACT Fund.

By purchasing a bag you also stand a chance to win a R100 000 conservation trip for four to the Thanda Private Game Reserve where you can experience these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, as well getting hands on experience as you help to collar painted dogs in the reserve.

Buy a limited edition Woolworths shopping bag to help save the African painted dog.

Visit the Wildlife ACT Fund website to find out what the team are doing to conserve the species.

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