The African painted dog may be the most endangered carnivore in Africa, with less than 5,000 remaining in the wild. Like other predators, it has been persecuted for hunting livestock and its habitat is shrinking as the human population grows. It is also susceptible to diseases spread by domestic dogs like rabies and distemper.
The Zoo supports the efforts of the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) to protect painted dogs in southern Tanzania. RCP works with local communities to ensure the survival of predators, including painted dogs, and people in and around Ruaha National Park. The third largest African painted dog population lives in the Ruaha region, and it is home to 10% of Africa’s lions.
RCP documents the presence and location of wildlife species through community-reported sightings and photos taken by motion-triggered cameras, or camera traps.
Through the Ruaha Explorer’s Club, the Zoo sponsors a camera in the field. Follow the Cincinnati Zoo Cam Facebook page to see images of wildlife our camera has captured.
Reducing carnivore attacks on livestock and retaliatory attacks by people is a main focus of the project. Reinforcing fencing around corrals to keep livestock safe from predators at night, for example, goes a long way toward building positive relationships between people and predators.
RCP helps communities realize tangible benefits from having carnivores around by providing employment for local people, school supplies, scholarships and a stocked medical clinic.
Regular education and outreach activities such as movie nights and community meetings are held. The project even takes villagers and school children who have never been to Ruaha National Park on educational visits to the park, with support from the Zoo’s Angel Fund.