Our £3000 donation was made as part of our commitment to conservation in the wild and followed the opening of our Painted Dog exhibit. The donation is even more significant as both Act for Wildlife and Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) have a shared patron – TV Vet Steve Leonard.
The donation enabled Steve along with Wildlife Vets International Trustee and former head of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Brigadier Tom Ogilvie Graham, to head out to Zimbabwe to help save painted dogs from extinction.
Their priority is to develop PDC’s in-house veterinary clinic near Hwange national park, key to PDC’s future success in bringing painted dogs (wild dogs) back from the brink.
Snared, sick, injured and orphaned dogs are brought to the clinic and rehabilitation centre for treatment. Better facilities would remove the need for long and stressful journeys to vet facilities in Bulawayo.
They will train PDC staff in wildlife medicine and first aid and help develop bespoke wildlife disease protocols to prevent disease transmission between painted dog enclosures and from domestic livestock and PDC staff to painted dogs, and vice versa.
They will also be assisting Zimbabwean government vets and PDC staff in mobile clinics for domestic dogs around Hwange National Park, vaccinating them against rabies and distemper to stop disease transmission into the painted dog population, already devastated by human persecution.
Steve, who presents Vets in the Wild, Steve Leonard’s Extreme Animals, Animal Camera and most recently Safari Vet School, said:
“I have been passionate about painted dogs since the first time I saw them in Africa 14 years ago and I am delighted that the charities of which I am patron have joined forces to conserve this iconic creature.
"This trip is giving me a real chance to see an excellent conservation project in action and assist local vets to protect these wonderful dogs and the people who live alongside them.”
Act for Wildlife is a conservation campaign led by Chester Zoo. Visit our website to find out how you can Act for Wildlife and help save endangered animals.