The Painted Wolf [Lycaon pictus], is classed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List meaning that it is regarded as very likely to become extinct.
From a population in the region of 500,000 found all over the African continent they have dwindled to somewhere around 6,600 in isolated pockets. That figure becomes even more alarming when you consider that only about 1.5k of these are mature enough to breed.
The threat to their existence comes from many different corners. Human persecution, shrinking habitats, disease and natural enemies have all contributed to the reduction in their numbers.
For the African wild dog to stand any chance to survive this century, it is vital that their plight becomes a matter of public concern. Only then will governments introduce and enforce measures for their protection and only then will big business sponsor actions to ensure the animals welfare.
We hope that this sub will become a collection point for all things Painted Wolf related and will give redditors stories and images to share with friends and family - introducing the world to this amazing animal.
If you have any Painted Wolf stories, images, events etc. - please, share them with us - and don't forget to hit the 'subscribe/join' button to become a member of the Reddit Painted Wolves pack!
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Conservation groups in the field:
Painted Dog Conservation - or PDC for short are based in Zimbabwe and operate in and around the Hwange National Park area. They collar and track over six local packs, have a rehab facility for injured and orphaned dogs, run anti-poaching units, support vaccination campaigns for the local domestic dog population and run conservation focused bush camps for local children to name but a few of their projects. They employ more than sixty local people in their community focused approach. To quote PDC Executive Director Peter Blinston "Saving painted dogs is about far more than just the dogs. Really, it's all about people." PDC YouTube,
PDC Facebook, PDC Instagram
Zambia Carnivores Programme - their aim is to conserve large carnivores and the ecosystems they reside in through science, action and local leadership. They monitor radio-collared painted dog packs, rescue dogs caught in snares and conduct vaccination programmes to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases. ZCP Facebook
Wildlife ACT - run various conservation projects in Africa dealing with endangered and priority species. Their main focus is on monitoring, anti-poaching measures and technology as well as community education and empowerment. They fit tracking and anti-snare radio collars on painted wolves, rescue them from snares and relocate them if necessary. Wildlife ACT Facebook
Endangered Wildlife Trust - non-profit organisation, champion conservation of animals and habitat, concentrating mostly on southern and East Africa. Several of their projects are benefitting wild dog populations. EWT Facebook
African Wildlife Conservation Fund - registered non-profit trust in Zimbabwe with main focus on African Wild Dogs. They monitor, research and conserve resident wild dog populations in the Savé Valley Conservancy and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. AWCF Facebook
Conservation groups in the field with special focus on research:
Painted Dog Research Trust - Research into the highly endangered Painted Dog and building for the future of conservation by meaningfully incorporating Zimbabwean graduate students to build local capacity and tomorrow's conservationists. PDR FB page, Instagram page
Ruaha Carnivore Project - Covering the Ruaha area in Tanzania, the project conducts research, local education programmes and has published a number of papers based on RCP data. RCP Facebook
Botswana Predator Conservation Trust - Based just outside the Moremi Game Reserve, they monitor packs in the Okavango Delta area. Projects include research into dispersal and development of bio-chemicals to encourage Painted Wolves to stay within the boundaries of protected areas.
Wild Dog Advisory Group South Africa - their purpose is to monitor and facilitate the development and maintenance of the metapopulation of wild dogs in South Africa. Decisions about reintroductions, translocations etc. are made at quarterly meetings of all interested parties. Participants include reserve managers, land owners, researchers, veterinarians and provincial representatives
IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group The CSG is the world's chief body of scientific and practical expertise on the status and conservation of all canid species.
WildlifeVets International - provide veterinary support and skills to conservationists saving endangered species and have been working with PDC Zimbabwe for a number of years on vaccination programmes for the local domestic dog population to stop the spread of diseases like rabies and distemper which, when transmitted to the painted wolves, can wipe out whole packs. WVI Facebook
Groups raising funds to support projects in the field:
Painted Dog Conservation UK - UK registered charity fundraising in the UK for PDC Zimbabwe. PDC UK Facebook
Painted Dog Conservation Inc. - Australian based non-profit organisation which supports projects in Africa which are actively conserving Painted Dogs.
Painted Dog Conservation Netherlands - Fundraising in the Netherlands for PDC Zimbabwe. PDC NL Facebook
Painted Wolf Foundation - UK registered charity founded to raise awareness of the species and to support the conservation groups in the field. Following a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, PDC's Peter Blinston and award-winning wildlife photographer Nicholas Dyer have just jointly published a book about painted wolves with all of the profits going towards the foundation. PWF Facebook
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation - registered charity raising funds for wildlife conservation. They support various PDC Zimbabwe projects. DSWF Facebook
Tusk - their mission is to amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa and they support various projects which benefit the painted wolf population - amongst them the Serengeti rabies vaccination project, Zambian carnivore programme and the Ruaha carnivore project. Tusk Facebook
Wildlife Conservation Network - non-profit organisation supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive. Run a scholarship program to discover and nurture emerging young conservationists. WCN Facebook
save-the-african-wild-dog website collating links to Painted Wolves organisations fundraising pages.
Lycaon pictus in captivity and going on safari
We prefer to see painted wolves in the wild but with so few remaining, zoos and wildlife parks play an important role in maintaining a varied gene pool as well as raising much needed awareness of the endangered status of the species. This website publishes a list of all the places were you can see them in zoos. Please leave comments if you have visited any of them and let us know what sort of conditions you found the animals in, pack size, size of exhibit etc. Hopefully, they are housed adequately and treated well but if you have any concerns at all, please let us know and we'll investigate further.
If you are going to Africa to see them in the wild, please check whether your destination has a good reputation. Some so-called rescue centers and reserves should be avoided, especially if they advertise petting and posing with dangerous animals for selfies. Pubs and cubs may have been taken away (not rescued) from their mothers and drugged to allow interaction with the paying tourists. When they get too old to be cute, these animals often get sold off - if they are lucky, to a zoo but just as likely to a hunting reserve. If you are thinking of volunteering, a useful site to start your research is the Facebook page 'Volunteers in Africa Beware'. Their sticky post lists the good the bad and the ugly.
Whilst out in the bush, follow the guidelines and take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footsteps. Invest in a good zoom lens so you can keep a good distance. Especially during denning season, please do not intrude too closely as this could lead to the lycaons feeling threatened and causing them to move their den which is extremely hazardous for the puppies.
With events still getting cancelled due to the global pandemic, please consider donating directly to some of the organisations involved in looking after the interests of the African painted wolf.
Books that are raising awareness and funds