African painted dogs face many threats in the wild. One of the largest dangers to dogs is snaring. Poachers set up snares in the bush, meaning to capture animals for bush meat. However, snares are indiscriminant and capture more than what they are intended for.
Conservationists in Zimbabwe discovered that specialized radio collars can help keep collared dogs from receiving mortal wounds due to snaring. These original collars did well, but the researchers felt that they could be improved. Staff from the Facilities Department in the Houston Zoo collaborated with other institutions to help design and build a new collar.
The new collars have a lighter-weight material and clips attached, designed to catch the snare wire before it can constrict around a dog’s neck. Once the wire is caught within the clips the dog can easily break it. These simple modifications can help save dogs’ lives!
The 5th clip design for the new collars is currently being tested. Once those trials are done, almost 900 tests will have been performed! Much of this collaboration is made possible by Painted Dog Protection Initiative http://www.painteddogprotection.org/ .
If you would like to learn more about this collar project and other ways the Houston Zoo is helping to save animals in the wild, please join us for our 3rd annual Dog Days of Summer celebration on June 5 and 6 from 10:00AM – 2:00PM!