Down to Earth

Down to Earth: The Extinction Crisis –Africa's Last Wild Dogs

NBC 7’s Dagmar Midcap traveled to South Africa to document what’s being done to protect painted dogs, one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores

The African painted dog, also known as the African wild dog, like so many species is being pushed near extinction. 

There are fewer than 6,000 painted dogs remaining in the wild in Africa. Habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict are the primary threats to painted dog populations.

Painted dogs have a distinct appearance, with long legs, large rounded ears, and unique patchy brown, black, white, red, and yellow coat patterns. They live in packs, with a strong social structure and have an enormous range, sometimes covering as much as 40 miles a day.

NBC 7’s Dagmar Midcap traveled to South Africa to document efforts being made to save this species.

Following the lead of conservation experts, Midcap tracked a pack of painted dogs by air and land, received a hands-on look at the collaring process, and was part of an urgent search to save a dog with a snare wire wrapped around her neck.

Midcap came in contact with dozens of people making a difference, but two key organizations that led her journey were Nkombe Rhino and Endangered Wildlife Trust. Both organizations are great resources for more information on how you can help save painted dogs, or if you just want to learn more information.

Remember these animals cannot save themselves, they need our help.

If you missed Down to Earth, The Extinction Crisis on NBC 7, catch up below:

After arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dagmar Midcap meets up with the conservation experts and heads towards Vaalwater, South Africa to begin searching for painted dogs. Finding these elusive predators is challenging, despite using an airplane, a helicopter, GPS tracking devices and other technologies, frustration mounts as the dogs elude the search team.
After locating a pack of painted dogs, the team of conservation experts successfully darts and collars a female. Dagmar Midcap shows us the expertise and precision needed to perform all aspects of collaring a painted dog, and she gets “hands on” this endangered species.
Dagmar Midcap follows an urgent search for a female painted dog with a snare collar wrapped around her neck. This is a potentially life threatening situation for the dog, and Dagmar documents the emotional toll of such a search, including the extremes the search team will reach in an attempt to save the dog.
So, what happened to the painted dogs featured in this Down to Earth special? There’s good news, as we provide an update on the dogs and how they’re doing since we left South Africa. Plus, there’s information and resources available if you’d like to help save this endangered species.
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