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Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) was founded in the strong belief that good conservation must be underpinned by sound science. Based just outside of Victoria Falls, PDRT is situated in a landscape mosaic of national parks, forestry, private safari area and communal lands. The field-based conservation ecology center for data driven trans-boundary research serves as the headquarters for PDRT. 

With the Pan-African population of painted dogs declining from 500,000 individuals to less than 5,000, the painted dog is listed by IUCN as endangered. Zimbabwe links the populations of all five neighboring countries making it a keystone corridor for this species. Continuation of long-term research and monitoring within this corridor is crucial to the continued survival of painted dogs.

To see an overview of the important work of PDRT as told by Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Greg Rasmussen, click the button below to watch a 20-minute video. 

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The mission of the Painted Dog Research Trust is to achieve meaningful conservation of African painted dogs using field-based data driven research, community-based education, and sound science.


We envision a freely interconnected painted dog population unencumbered by human interference. 


  1. Mentor Zimbabwean and international university students to train tomorrow's generation of conservationists.

  2. Address conservation challenges throughout the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) dispersal corridor in Zimbabwe, linking painted dog populations of all five neighboring countries.

  3. Implement multi-level conservation initiatives, including field data collection, development and deployment of satellite tracking anti-snare collars for painted dogs, vehicle speed reduction, education outreach, and habitat restoration.

  4. Utilize education and empathy in local communities to find solutions that are beneficial to both painted dogs and people.



Dr. Greg Rasmussen has been a prolific writer over his career, publishing over 30 articles on Painted Dogs and 13 on reptiles of Africa.



To learn more about what it takes to save a species through community support and global collaborations, examine the details in our annual reports.

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"Somewhere in woodland, a gnarled old umtshibi spread aloft towards the Southern Cross, its tangled evergreen canopy twinkling to the light of a half moon.

We spoke of earthly things, of evolution and of wildlife and its survival - the place each species rightfully has on this earth until natural struggle and conflict between them determines their niche or failure; how only Man's concern and wisdom can give some hope and fairness to their fate.

The night with its unknown shadows, its apparitions of uncertainty and fantasy, was keenly silent but not eerie. We felt an affinity with the profound touch of nature. Unknown to us one of the most moving experiences of our lives was about to unfold.

The silence was intense. To breathe was an effort. The sudden disturbance of dry leaves, some fresh, some burnt and tarnished by time and an unforgiving sun, was exaggerated by the acuteness of our senses. Adrenaline made it deafening.

Patter patter, patter patter . . The pattern was familiar to those who love animals. The large elongated paws, designed by evolution for sustainability, for running down prey to fulfil essential needs of life, began circling us unseen.

There was scuffling as animals came together - perhaps in play - then continued with their reconnoitre. They became bolder, inquisitive, shortening the distance to metres between us. Our eyes strained hard to gather in the struggling light of the moon, to put shape and feeling to the concealing shadows of the night. They circled us again.

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.

The Painted Dogs then melted into the African night like phantoms as quietly as they had come."

Extract from Prose of C.D. McClelland

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does"

William James

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