To get an understanding of the threats to the Painted Dogs we have been out with the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) for a mornings patrol. When PDC was first set up, so many of the dogs were being trapped in illegal snares set out in the bush around the fringes and also within the National Park. Snares have been used for centuries as a hunting aid but the traditional methods were very different to what we see today. The free availability of fencing wire from long abandoned field boundaries has resulted in hundreds of death traps left out in the bush. The APU patrol huge areas around the PDC centre and the park boundaries removing snares and capturing poachers. The area we patrolled with them is close to the centre and has been free of snares for some time now as the poachers know they operate in this area but they also deployed further afield where poaching is still rife. Read the full story on Steve's Blog >
The last few days have been very eventful. Seeing the huge amount of amazing work that goes on here is phenomenal. One of the flagship programs of Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) is its Bushcamp. All the local primary schools get a free 3-4 day residential trip to learn about wildlife, conservation and the environment.The highlight of their stay is the game drive. For most if not all of these children it is the first time they have ever been inside the national park that is on their doorstep and a chance to see the amazing wildlife that lives there. Seeing the excitement on their faces as they witness elephants bathing or giraffe feeding was fantastic. Read the full article on Stev's Blog >>
Steve Leonard sends his first report from Zimbabwe where he is assisting local veterinarians in a crucial vaccination programme for domestic dogs in the local communities bordering the Painted Dog Conservation project in Hwange National Park. "I am totally shattered. The last four days have been a whirlwind. In a joint venture between Painted Dog Conservation, Wildlife Vets International and the government vets from Hwange we have vaccinated around 800 dogs against rabies and distemper (we even saw a few cats for rabies vaccination). We set up our tables out in the bush and waited for out first patients. Pretty soon a small party of smiling chaps waltzed out of the thicket circled by packs of 'dingo' like dogs. Left to their own devices in such hard conditions, natural selection tends to result in medium-build, hardy crossbreeds like these. Pampered pedigrees wouldn't last a week out here. I had no idea how we were going to manage the twenty or so dogs that rocked up in the first wave but the government veterinary assistants got busy with the vaccines, worming and de-fleaing while the vets got stuck into seeing any with any illness or injuries with the PDC staff preparing syringes, translating, recording names and generally keeping it all flowing. By the time we were halfway through this first lot the next wave hit us and it was plain we were going to be busy . . . " Read the full story on Steve's Blog >
PDC UK is delighted to have a stall at Tusk Trust’s annual American Express Conservation Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, London on 15th November. The theme for this year’s talk will be ‘Africa’s Poaching Crisis’ with guest speakers Ian Craig and Steve Trent, and PDC UK’s snare wire sculptures will therefore be extremely appropriate. Learn more on the TUSK website.
PDC UK will be having a stall of snare wire and beaded wildlife sculptures at Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s annual Animal Action Day on 14th July showing their support for all that YWP does in raising funds and awareness of painted dogs in the wild. Please do come and join us. Visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park website for more details.
Fundraising event with Wildlife Vets International, Amur and Wildlife Heritage Foundation at the Mavros Gallery, London PDC UK were extremely fortunate to be included in a fabulous fundraising evening, generously hosted by Patrick Mavros at his stunning Gallery in London’s Fulham Road on 22nd May. Patrick Mavros being presented with a thank you for hosting the event by Sharon Miller Mr Mavros is a keen supporter of wildlife conservation and had offered his gallery to support three charities: Amur – working to save tigers and leopards in Russia’s Far East, Wildlife Heritage Foundation – working to ensure the conservation of critically endangered big cats, and Wildlife Vets International (WVI) – providing veterinary expertise to ensure the survival of endangered species worldwide. WVI had very generously pledged that 50% of the funds raised on the evening by them would be used to help PDC and the forthcoming joint veterinary initiative to Zimbabwe by WVI vet Brigadier Tom Ogilvie-Graham and PDC UK/WVI joint Patron, Steve Leonard. Group photo including Lord Fairfax, Patrick Mavros, Brigadier Tom Ogilvie-Graham and respresentatives from Amur, Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Wildlife Vets International and PDC UK The gallery was looking especially beautiful because, in addition to the traditional, unique Mavros silverware with jewellery items and sculptures depicting African wildlife, there was also an exhibition of fabulous wildlife-inspired ceramics from the South African studio of Ardmore, featuring the colourful and unique designs of local young artists. These ceramics are internationally renowned and collected. Guests were welcomed by Lord Fairfax of Cameron and Sharon Miller of Amur, emphasising the positive news for tiger and leopard conservation in Russia but underlining the vital need for continuing support for wildlife conservation across the world. PDC UK is extremely grateful for the support of Painted Wolf Wines from South Africa who donated 2 cases of their delicious Rosalind Rose wine and 1 case of their Den Pinotage red wine to the prestigious fundraising event at the Mavros Gallery, London on 22nd May. Enjoying PW Wines – Lord Fairfax, Michael Tinning and Brigadier Tom Ogilvie-Graham Painted Wolf Wines Sponsored Cycle – Pedals4Paws Jeremy Borg, from Painted Wolf Wines has just sent this further news of his support for painted dogs in southern Africa: “I am going to be travelling by bicycle from Maun to Hwange at the end of June – 1000kms! The plan is to use the ride to raise money for Tusk Trust, which will be distributed equally between painted dog projects in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Please make a donation to Pedals4Paws via Virgin Money Giving. Thanks. The ride will actually end up at a cycle event hosted by my old school near Bulawayo – The Tour de Falcon. The college have also offered to help raise funds for PD conservation in Zimbabwe through a voluntary donation on the entry form. I am really excited about this. Should be fun and hopefully raise some cash for the cause.” Mavros photos © Debbie Nicholls
In 2011 the trustees of PDCUK attended 2 fundraising events at YWP. The first in the summer was for the endangered animals in June where the Painted Dog was one of the 5 featured animals and YWP presented a very generous cheque to PDCUK from their dog focussed fund raising activities. It was a glorious weekend and there was a very carnival-like feel in the courtyard. PDCUK had stands inside and out selling artwork made at the Iganyana Art Centre as well as the ever popular Hamuka stuffed toys that PDCUK sells to raise money. Meanwhile Jessica Riederer, the education officer, gave educational talks at the dog enclosure . There was a very lively and active interest in PDCUK. Many new connections were made strengthening our ties to the area. We especially enjoyed the conversations with lovers of Painted Dogs (long time ones and new converts, old and young). The second visit was for the joint fundraising day held with WVI – SOS for the Painted Dogs held in the October Half term to coincide with Halloween. During the day Dr Greg Rasmussen, founder of Painted Dog Conservation, who was visiting from Zimbabwe gave a well received educational talk at the dog enclosure. The PDCUK trustees had a stall inside the education centre with awareness material and the sale of artwork. It was a pleasure to meet some Painted Dog supporters revisiting the park and to catch up with them. The team at YWP had also organised an evening opening with silent fireworks and the local brass band and a soloist. Memorably after the glorious daytime weather, there was a loud bang as the fireworks started – sadly it was thunder – the most incredible storm rolled over dampening the end of a great day in more ways than one! When the trustees returned the next day to pack up the stand we had time to walk around and visit the excellent enclosures the park has made in the last 15 months especially the Tiger enclosure.
Following an initial meeting with the Director of Changaware Trust at a BA Charities Fair, PDC UK has been invited to take part in their annual Christmas Craft Fair for the last three years. The 2011 fair was held in St Matthews Church, London SW6 on 24th November. PDC UK were grateful for the opportunity to raise further awareness and provide unique snare wire and beaded work Christmas presents for visitors.
In October 2011, the inaugural WildlifeXpo event was held at Alexandra Palace, London and Painted Dog Conservation UK was invited to have a stall and to provide a speaker. Billed as the UK's most comprehensive wildlife show, with talks, forums, lectures and exhibitors from almost all walks of wildlife, visitors had the opportunity to listen to lectures and presentations from some of the best known wildlife presenters and visit the stands of over 100 exhibitors. PDC’s founder Dr Greg Rasmussen gave an inspirational talk on the status of the painted dog and the challenges facing the project in Zimbabwe. PDC UK’s Patron, Steve Leonard, joined us on the Saturday and was responsible for a rush of visitors to the stand, including Mark Carwardine and Chris Packham. The project’s unique snare wire sculptures sold very well and awareness of the dogs’ problems was raised with a whole new audience. PDC UK looks forward to WildXpo 2012. Hope to see you there! Exact dates tbc.