The Threatened World of African Wild Dogs
He dedicates his life to the painted dogs, as the wild dogs in Africa are called: Dr. Gregory Rasmussen. He has been fighting for a quarter of a century in
Zimbabwe for the protection of this extremely endangered species which is particularly challenged by poachers’ traps. The Academy further supported
him in his work in 2018.
Dr. Julia Gräfin Maltzan traveled to Zimbabwe in August to help Dr. Rasmussen equip the wild dogs with transmitters – an exceptionally difficult task. To catch the animals and attach the GPS collars is practically only feasible when the pack with its litter is at its den between June and August. Watch is kept day and night in order to catch one of the animals.
But only in theory. In practice, everything is far more difficult: Dr. Rasmussen had not succeeded in a year in capturing an animal but his efforts were rewarded in August. Following a night of keeping watch, Dr. Julia Gräfin Maltzan was able to immobilize the female alpha dog ‘Waltz’ and, together with Dr. Rasmussen, the animal could be collared. The joy was comparably great because both the collar, and now ‘Waltz’ as well, deliver invaluable data regarding the behaviour and movements of the animals. Evaluation of this information can help to better protect the animals.
A further significant aspect is that wild dogs frequently become trapped in snares and are unable to free them-selves, a situation which time and again can endanger
the survival of the pack. The transmitters allow them to be found. The Academy supports Dr. Gregory Rasmussen, who also actively educates and trains the local population on site, lending advice, handson assistance, medication and material.
The reason why: The situation of the African wild dogs is still very serious. They continue to be massively threatened by poaching even though Dr. Greg Rasmussen’s work prevents the targeted shooting of the animals by farmers. Nevertheless, the snares, which are actually ‘only’ set for gazelles, are a huge problem for the dogs, to which Dr. Rasmussen also attests:
“Here a number of dogs are either killed outright or suffer broken legs. Regarding snares, we have successfully managed to test the first of our new generation of antisnare collars and are happy to report that 'Kettle', the first dog collared, is alive and well.
Dr. Rasmussen is therefore very appreciative of the Academy for their help:
„Dear Julia and Henning, as I write my annual report I would like to say a special thank you for your personal involvement and to the Academy for Zoo and Wildlife Protection for your committed support. Assistance such as yours helps us to achieve our targets“.
You can read Dr. Greg Rasmussen’s entire report here: Draft 2018 Painted Dog Research Trust end of the year report