The Houston Zoo’s conservation department is always looking for practical ways to assist our wildlife conservation partners. We strive to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in saving species.
Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) is a very good community-based conservation project in Zimbabwe that hires over 60 locals to help run their various conservation programs. Their efforts have had tremendous results, but they often struggled to promote and share the successes effectivley with their supporters. To that end, last month we sent social media specialist Molly Feltner, communications officer for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, to PDC to help them with their external communications. During her time she was able to record audio interviews with all the project’s management staff, which will be used to rewrite text for the website and produce a multimedia video. Staff were taught how to edit photos for the web and how to make the best use of social media through Facebook.
Molly documented aspects of the project in order to create a complete hi-res photo archive for PDC staff to use in publicity. She photographed the children’s education program(the Bush Camp), conservation club classes, the community projects funded by PDC (such as bore holes, community gardens, and projects with the health clinics), the captive painted dogs housed at the rehabilitation center and the wild packs living around the center. She got footage of the anti-poaching unit activity and the Iganyana art center and artisans that create the snare wire sculptures. She also helped redesign the newsletter that is sent out to the PDC’s supporters on a monthly basis.
We will continue to assist PDC with this effort, but we are happy to report that many of PDC’s staff are better equipped to share the good news coming from Zimbabwe!