2010 Plans for Zimbabwe Wild Dogs

Happy New Year to all our readers and supporters.  I would like to start this post by thanking all those who have supported us during 2009.  Your donations have really helped to get us through some sticky financial patches and have made a very real difference to the conservation of the wild dogs.  We couldn’t have done what we have without you.

I also want to welcome those relatively new to this blog; thank you for your interest and I hope you continue to enjoy the site over 2010.

We have very exciting plans for 2010 – ambitious and challenging, but with your support and the continued dedication of the team in Zimbabwe we believe we can meet our goals.  We plan to focus on three main branches of conservation this year; environmental education, vaccination campaigns in domestic dogs to prevent the spread of rabies and canine distemper to the wild dogs, and increased investment in anti-poaching.


We aim to expand our current environmental education efforts signifcantly this year, with more schools being included in our program, teacher training workshops planned and the hiring of a local environmental education officer.  We believe environmental education is crucial to any long term conservation initiatives and that well designed, long-term and sustainable education programs are extremely important.

A primary school in Zimbabwe’s south-east lowveld

Vaccination Campaigns

Together with vets from the Aware Trust, we plan to carry out vaccination campaigns in the domestic dogs surrounding key wildlife areas in the south-east lowveld of Zimbabwe where we work.  Not only will this considerably reduce the threat to the wildlife from diseases such as rabies and canine distemper, it also has significant health benefits for the domestic dog and human populations.  We also plan to vaccinate as many wild dogs as possible against rabies over the forthcoming year (thanks again to those who donated funds to help buy the vaccines).

African wild dog immobilised for snare removal and rabies vaccination


Snaring is one of the major causes of death for wild dogs in Zimbabwe.  In 2009, over 80% of recorded wild dog mortality was due to snaring.  Many other dogs did not immediately die from the snares, but carried them around their necks or legs, suffering from horrific injuries.  And it is by no means just wild dogs; animals of all species are killed in a terrible way by these indiscriminate snares, in unsustainable numbers.  We plan to help support and expand current anti-poaching efforts, and specifically to focus on keeping wild dog home ranges and den site areas free from snares.  This is the sort of thing we are trying to prevent…

African wild dog puppy with a wound from a snare wire around his neck

We will also be working more in Gonarezhou National Park next year, with the aim of trying to understand why the wild dog population (and the lion population) is so low there.

I hope you will stick with us during 2010 and I will do my best to keep you updated with our progress in these and other areas.

With best wishes from all of us at the Zimbabwe Wild Dog Project for a peaceful and happy 2010.

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  1. Rebecca, Australia
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a big year ahead, looking forward to keeping up with your progress.

  2. Pirjo,Finland
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a good plan for the year ahead! Looking forward to follow the project with the Wild Dogs also this year. Learning more about these awesome animals all the time.

  3. Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Pirjo and Rebecca,
    Thanks for your comments and I’m looking forward to sharing our progress over the next year with you. It’s going to be a challenge, but there is no doubt in my mind it is 100% worthwhile.

  4. Cara
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Wild dogs team,
    I was just wondering what your current strategy for anti-poaching is? Is it mainly desnaring?
    Thanks and loving the work you’re doing,

  5. Posted January 13, 2010 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Hi Cara,
    We work over a very large area in south-east Zimbabwe, covering several different land use types (private wildlife land, national parks, communal land, re-settled land etc), and anti-poaching strategies differ. The largest population of wild dogs however is in the Save Valley Conservancy where the project is based and it is here that we will put most effort into anti-poaching. There is already an established anti-poaching network in the conservancy – each ranch has their owen team of scouts and there are also plans to set up a conservancy ‘crack-unit’, quick response team to respond to more major incidences, especially rhino poaching.

    As far as we are concerned, snaring is the greatest threat to the wild dogs, so we will focus on actively de-snaring in the field (especially around den sites in the denning season), as well as providing equipment (i.e. uniforms and radios) and incentives to the current anti-poaching scouts to increase their motivation to do their job well, and not turn to poaching themselves.


  6. Posted January 13, 2010 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Cara,
    I just re-read my lengthy response and decided I didnt really answer your question! Yes, our main anti-poaching strategy at the moment is de-snaring, as that is where the major threat is from. Domestic (poacher) dogs inside the conservancy are also shot on sight, and there is obviously a very different response for dealing with armed rhino poachers etc. But we focus on de-snaring.

  7. Rob Fausnaught
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I have just started following your blog, my first ever, and I am enthralled by the work you are doing. It has motivated me to action and I’d like to thank you. I have a degree in wildlife conservation, but chose to try and follow a “financially rewarding” career. I have found this to be unrewarding in all aspects and I want to help save the Africa I grew to love on a study abroad trip to Tanzania. My question is how do I become a part of the team? I am an accomplished outdoorsman and knowledgable in many areas that would be of great use. I would expect no salary as I would be more then compensated knowing I was finally putting all my hard work and knowledge towards such a great cause! Please help me help you.
    Rob Fausnaught

  8. Posted April 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for your interest in helping out. Best to get in touch with me by email ([email protected]) and send a CV. I don’t have a lot of opportunities this year, but we can discuss further by email. In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the blog,

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