No record exists of any instance of a painted dog killing a human being in Africa. Ironically, their main predator and threat to their existence is man.
African painted dogs face many of the same threats as North American wolves:
· Along with shrinking habitat, both species are persecuted by humans as a result of longstanding, yet unfounded myths, fear and hatred.
· Farmers wrongly believe that these animals are a major threat to their livestock, though healthy packs prefer to hunt their natural prey.
· Rabies and distemper, diseases carried by domestic dogs, can strike a pack through contact with just one animal.
· Inbreeding due to loss of habitat and the resulting fragmented populations threatens the survival of these species.
In Africa, roads built for cars make for easy traveling for painted dogs, but create a new hazard. Painted dogs are killed regularly by vehicles - sometimes by accident but often on purpose.
Snares, once made of natural materials, are now made with fence wire. They are easy to make and the material is plentiful, so often twenty to fifty or more will be put in one area by people looking to catch bush meat. Once one animal from the pack is snared, the others come in to help and are often caught too. In this way, snares can accidentally wipe out an entire pack in a very short time.
Studies indicate that the loss of just one dog can disrupt the entire pack.
Zimbabwe, a bridge between dog packs in Southern Africa, is key to linking the populations and maximizing their available gene pool.
As their main predator, only humans can bring these animals back from the brink of extinction and play a part in ensuring their future