Greg Rasmussen has worked with wild dogs for eight years and is dedicated to the conservation crisis facing the painted hunting dog in southern Africa. The African wild dog population has declined dramatically over the past 30 years and has disappeared from 26 of the 39 countries in which they were once recorded and are now fewer in number than black rhinos or the cheetah. Over half of the documented mortality is the result of persecution by humans, so Greg’s work concentrates upon resolving the conflict between people and the wild dog in southern Africa through community education and by establishing an economically-viable means of halting their alarming population decline.
Greg, who is based in Zimbabwe, seeks to change the attitude of stock farmers, village subsistence farmers and game farmers in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa who have maintained a concerted campaign to exterminate the wild dog. A community education programme targeting these groups will be developed as part of a project tackling community involvement, education and conflict resolution.
Working in collaboration with local game and livestock farmers, the project will aim to build awareness of wild dogs while assessing the economic loss caused by wild dog predation of livestock and explore options for husbandry to reduce stock losses. The objective is to conserve and increase the range and numbers of painted hunting dogs in Zimbabwe, as well as to provide the conservation tools and educational materials necessary to protect this highly endangered carnivore elsewhere in Africa.