Painted Dog – Hwange Conservation & Rehabilitation Program

Hwange Nationa Park Conservation. Vintage Camp is situated on the Painted Dog Conservancy,  bordering  Hwange National Park.  A donation for every booking is included in our rate and is allocated to the conservation program outlined below.  We thank you for using Vintage Camps and contributing to this worthy program.  The PDC welcome visitors to their interesting museum and rehabilitation centre which is open daily to the public.


They once occupied 39 range states through out sub-Saharan Africa. Today they are found in only 14 range states with a population reduced from a former estimate of more than 500,000 to as few as 7000 across the entire African continent.


Their shrinking world has been impacted by unfounded myths leading to human persecution, and tragic injuries when their paths cross our roads. But the special qualities of the Painted Dog, with its famously large, round ears and multi-colored coat, are the endearing characteristics that can bridge the connection between the dogs and their human neighbors.

“Suddenly they were there, lean, ghost like shapes in the moonlight with Mickey Mouse ears; wearing their dappled coats of black, tan and gold, like ink spots on blotting paper. Only a new day would reveal their full beauty. Only Man could hope to prevent their extinction.”


An extract from Shadows in The Forest: CD McClelland

The Painted Dog, or Lycaon Pictus, can trace its ancestry back some 40 million years. They have a unique evolutionary line and are one of the rarest species on the African Continent.


Painted Dogs are very social and have a rich, cooperative pack life.


Persecution, poaching and road kills! All the result of human intervention, present the greatest challenge to the survival of the African Painted Dogs. When you work with a most amazing, ancient animal as this one, you can’t help but be influenced. We know that the call to conservation succeeds when everyone is involved. Over 20 years’ work protecting Painted Dogs has transformed our singular goal to one of inclusion. We now recognize Zimbabwe’s wilderness as a borderland between species: the benefits of protecting one affects the quality of life of the other.


PDC began at the outset with three areas of concentration. Find the problems, reduce the problems, and tell others about the problems. But during the daunting task of building something out of nothing in the forests of Zimbabwe, the concerns of the people played into the plight of Painted Dogs.


PDC brings in experts from oversees to help train and develop the staff so that they can carry on this work after we’ve gone. It’s fundamental to encourage our staff to be role models so people can see that there’s a future if you get involved with conservation. Motives are everything, and sustainable resource management only works when the real stakeholders are reached. Our successful Education Programs are reaching thousands of people through young children, teenagers, farmers, ranchers and others.



Anti-Poaching Units
The Painted Dog Conservation currently deploys an eight man anti-poaching unit. These men proactively carry out many strategies, including the dismantling of thousands of snares throughout the Gwayi Conservancy, bordering Hwange National Park. We’re not only helping the dogs, but all of the animals, or “bush-meat”, which the snares are set for.


Re-introduction Program
PDC oversees the formation of new packs from recovered individuals and orphans. The Starvation Island Program reintroduces them in a controlled way into the wild, where they learn to hunt and work together as a pack.

Rehabilitation Facility
The rationale behind this is based on the organizations belief that every individual is valuable. The facility thus caters for injured, sick or orphaned painted dogs that can not cope in the wild and every effort is made to get these individuals back into the wild. Either into the pack they came from or by the creation of a new pack.


Pack Monitoring
Pack monitoring enables the project to identify behavior patterns, hunting success and mortality. It also makes landowners aware of the presence of the dogs, allowing them to provide accurate information about the dogs to the project.