African painted dogs face many threats in the wild.  One of the largest dangers to dogs is snaring.  Poachers set up snares in the bush, meaning to capture animals for bush meat.  However, snares are indiscriminant and capture more than what they are intended for.

Mock ups 2 copyConservationists in Zimbabwe discovered that specialized radio collars can help keep collared dogs from receiving mortal wounds due to snaring.  These original collars did well, but the researchers felt that they could be improved.  Staff from the Facilities Department in the Houston Zoo collaborated with other institutions to help design and build a new collar.

Brandon working on a new collar.

Brandon working on a new collar.

The new collars have a lighter-weight material and clips attached, designed to catch the snare wire before it can constrict around a dog’s neck.  Once the wire is caught within the clips the dog can easily break it.  These simple modifications can help save dogs’ lives!

The 5th clip design for the new collars is currently being tested.  Once those trials are done, almost 900 tests will have been performed!  Much of this collaboration is made possible by Painted Dog Protection Initiative http://www.painteddogprotection.org/ .

If you would like to learn more about this collar project and other ways the Houston Zoo is helping to save animals in the wild, please join us for our 3rd annual Dog Days of Summer celebration on June 5 and 6 from 10:00AM – 2:00PM!

2 Responses to “Protect the Pack!”

  1. Melissa says:

    Very interesting post! Can you tell me more about the Dog Days of Summer event? I cannot find any information on the zoo website about the 2015 event. Thanks!

  2. Samantha says:

    Thank you Melissa! The Dog Days of Summer event is an annual keeper driven celebration of all things Painted dog. We highlight how the Houston Zoo is collaborating with researchers in Africa to help save these animals in the wild. We will be doing keeper chats, enrichment demonstrations, and free crafts! The Meet the Keeper talks will be at 10AM, 11:30AM, and 2PM. The event is from 10AM-2PM on June 5 and June 6 at the African painted dog exhibit. See you there!

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