Sunday, March 27, 2011

Canids and Conservation

What a treat! Dr. Gregory Rasmussen and Alison Nicholls of the Painted Dog Conservation Project (PDC) came by the WCC this afternoon to talk canids and conservation. Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and they are among the continent's most endangered species. The PDC works closely with the local communities in Zimbabwe to educate people about the importance of healthy painted dog populations and to employ conservation methods that are improving the outlook of this beautiful predator.  Although there has been some success, the PDC faces challenges that are similar the ones wolf recovery programs confront here in the U.S.  Poaching, livestock conflicts, and fear are among the issues that plague the conservation efforts of both species.

We discussed the recovery of both species, the wonderful victories that occur through education, and more while sitting in the sun up by Atka's enclosure.  Atka seemed uninterested by our chatter but out of the blue, on a few occasions, he began to howl.  He didn't carry on for long, just a single howl every now and then to perhaps remind us who the "top dog" is! 

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