When someone asks us about heroes, we often think of the visible. People who have shown great things and they have probably been in the news a couple of times. Nevertheless, many heroes work mainly behind the scenes and that causes them to be unseen. On Thursday May 17, we welcomed one of the heroes of the Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), Wilton Nsimango, at HAS University in Den Bosch. Wilton enthusiastically taught us all about PDC.
Painted dogs face many threats. Therefore, protection and conservation have to consist of many different acts. Employees of the PDC reach out not only to the dogs, but also to local people. Education is a great way to involve children in nature conservation. A painted dog is something extraordinary, which many kids have never seen before. Who would care for something unknown? Schoolkids with the age of 12 are invited to a bush camp, where their first meeting with painted dogs will take place. After 4 days, many kids leave inspired and want to protect the dogs. Today, 15 years later, several students have started working at PDC.
Besides that, there is a rehabilitation centre, an Anti-Poaching Unit team, and the Iganyana Art Centre. The last one deserves a little bit more attention. For example; wire snares, which often lead to death of the African Wild Dog, are used to create art. But snare art is just one of the things that are made in the Art Centre. As stated on their website: www.painteddog.org, they are “turning something negative into something truly wonderful”.
The structure and complexity of the Painted Dog Conservation have really inspired us. The basis of everything there is passion for these unique animals and to save them, many people give their everything, day after day. Should you ever go to Zimbabwe, then consider visiting the Painted Dog Conservation. Finally, I would like to end with a quote of the amazing Wilton himself:
“It is our deep felt belief that in order to make a difference and win in conservation, it is paramount to change lives.”
By Manon Verijdt