Dr. Gregory Rasmussen, 2023 Indianapolis Prize nominee and founder and executive director of Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT), will be at Rolling Hills Zoo on March 13th as part of his three-month tour of the U.S. to promote awareness of the highly endangered painted dog, aka African wild dog, of which there are approximately 6,500 left in the wild. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. RHZ’s Conference Center with a light lunch followed by Dr. Rasmussen’s presentation on the current state of the painted dog population, pressing threats of their survival, and the tireless efforts of PDRT to save them from extinction. The cost to attend this wildlife conservation program is $15 per person and includes a light lunch. Reservations are required by March 8th.
Dr. Rasmussen’s tour of the U.S. encompasses visiting more than 30 venues, including zoos and universities. Scientists, academics, zookeepers, supporters and the interested public are invited to attend the public presentations. His complete schedule of events can be found at https://www.painteddogresearch.org/events.
“With painted dogs as our flagship, we too now are adding afforestation and mitigation of climate change to our conservation armory,” said Dr. Rasmussen, who has studied painted dogs in their natural habitat for over 30 years, one of the longest studies into the species. “The biodiversity crisis is affecting every corner of the globe and every form of life, especially painted dogs,” he added. Dr. Rasmussen founded PDRT in 2014 in northwest Zimbabwe, one of the last strongholds for painted dogs, the recognizable carnivores from their individually unique tri-colored coats, fluffy white tails and oversized Mickey-Mouse ears.
“I am delighted to return to the States to reconnect with friends and associates as well as add new names and faces to our widening support base for the endangered painted dogs,” said Dr. Rasmussen. “While I hope to inspire and share, I too am motivated by those I meet.”
Dr. Rasmussen will follow up with a short Conservation Encounter at Rolling Hills Zoo’s African Painted Dog Exhibit at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon followed by Q & A. This Conservation Encounter will be included in the price of zoo admission.