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African Painted Dogs at Brookfield Zoo
Conference to Aid Critically Endangered African Painted Dogs
Chicago Zoological Society Hosts Researchers from Around the World

Experts who are working from around the world to help save critically endangered African painted dogs are meeting April 29 to May 2 for a conference at Brookfield Zoo, which is managed by the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS). The objectives of the African Painted Dog Conference are to improve conservation efforts and share husbandry and care expertise with colleagues from around the world.

The African painted dog is critically endangered due to habitat loss, human encroachment (road fatalities, distemper and rabies outbreaks) and persecution from humans who perceive them as a threat to their livestock. Staff at Brookfield Zoo is working collaboratively with other zoos to ensure that there is a sustainable population in professional care facilities. As a leader in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) cooperative population management and conservation program for African painted dogs, the Chicago Zoological Society is bringing together the people and institutions that are invested in saving this species.

“These animals have a serious image problem in Africa. People see them as threats, so they aggressively hunt them, and that is decimating the population,” said Amy Roberts, curator of mammals and a member of the conference committee. “The knowledge and hands-on experience we gain through day-to-day interaction with African painted dogs is fundamental in helping us expand our commitment to conservation initiatives that can save the species.”

The four-day conference will feature paper and poster presentations regarding all aspects of painted dog care and management, both in professional care facilities and in the wild. In addition, paper and roundtable discussions will include the status of African painted dogs in the wild, field projects, husbandry standards, and veterinary care.

Keynote speakers include renowned African painted dog researchers Gregory Rasmussen, Ph.D., research director for the Painted Dog Research Department Biological Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe and J. Weldon McNutt, Ph.D., director of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, Botswana, Africa.

Talks include:
  • “Status, Ecology and Conservation of the African Painted Dog in Tanzania’s Ruaha Landscape” by Dr. Amy Dickman, director of Ruaha Carnivore Project for the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and University of Oxford, Africa
  • “The Effects of Kinship, Maternal Age and Experience on Survivorship in Captive African Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus)” by Jennifer Yordy and Regina Mossotti of the Endangered Wolf Center, Eureka, Mo.
  • “So I Thought I Knew Dogs! An Insight into Den Behaviour" by Richard Barnes, Painted Dog EEP coordinator, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, England
  • “Apocrine Scent Gland Tumors in African Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus)” by Jennifer Boonstra, DVM, MPH, Dipl. ACVPM, Potawotami Zoo, South Bend, Ind.
  • “A Genetic Management Toolkit: Hormonal and Behavioural Research towards the Development of Artificial Insemination Technology in the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)” by F. Van den Berghe, DVM, M. Science Institute for Breeding Rare and Endangered African Mammals (IBREAM), Edinburgh, UK School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University,Townsville, QLD, Australia

“This conference provides the opportunity to exchange knowledge with researchers, scientists, keepers, and veterinarians from around the world so that we can continue to advance the welfare and sustainability of African painted dogs,” said Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO for the Chicago Zoological Society.

The African Painted Dog Conference is hosted by the Society’s Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (CSAW). CSAW is long regarded as a leader in advancing animal care by implementing innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Through research, study, and collaboration with international experts, the Society is able to contribute to the high quality of care that animals receive in zoos and aquariums around the world.

The conference is sponsored by the Women’s Board of the Chicago Zoological Society, Patterson Veterinary, Terminix, and Sedgwick County Zoo with support from additional donors.