Painted Dogs or African wild Dogs are critically endangered. A population of approximately 500,000 that occurred in 39 countries at the turn of the twentieth century has been reduced to a mere 3,000 individuals in recent years. In 2006, Just a Drop supported the work of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation – in Hwange National Park – to support its mission to increase the number of Painted Dogs, through conservation, education and community involvement.
Lupote Village Borehole
The biggest threat facing Painted Dogs (and wildlife in general) in Hwange National Park is poaching. This threat stems from many different sources; however the impoverished villagers need for food and water is the strongest driving force. Lupote Village is desperately poor and suffers with infertile soils, erratic rainfall and general neglect. The entire village of some 400 people had to rely on one borehole for water – many having to walk a 14km round trip just to collect enough water for their most basic of needs.
The villagers also rely heavily on their livestock for food. With no water readily available, they were forced to move their goats and cattle into the wildlife areas, where there are plenty of waterholes. The temptation for the herd boys to set snares was overwhelming and regularly led to conflicts with the anti poaching units.
In an effort to solve some of these problems, Just a Drop raised enough funds to dig a borehole for the villagers. As a result, now not only do the villagers – and their cattle – have a local water supply, many of the villagers have also been able to set up an irrigation scheme, which will provide them with added food security. What’s more, the wildlife areas are now much safer from poaching, and consequently, the Painted Dog population is set to increase.