An expert on African painted wild dogs won’t be barking up the wrong tree when he comes to speak at Salina’s Rolling Hills Zoo. Dr. Greg Rasmussen will speak at the zoo in February.
According to the zoo, with an affinity for wildlife conservation, Dr. Greg Rasmussen has become a champion of the endangered African painted wild dogs.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, Dr. Rasmussen developed a strong affinity for wildlife – to the point of spending all of his spare time in the laboratories of the National History Museum. He joined the British merchant Navy where he studies at the Warsash Naval College in Southampton, and traveled the world. While on the ships he took an interest in research. In 1978 he received the Bracknell (UK) award for meteorological work on ocean currents.
Following his stint with the British merchant Navy, he joined the Transglobe Expedition bound for the North and South poles under Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Afterward, he returned to Africa and completed two more degrees in order to pursue a wildlife career.
Twenty-two years ago Dr. Rasmussen started researching the endangered painted dog under the umbrella of Painted Dog Research and began engaging with ranchers that were shooting the dogs. After a few years of cooperation, the shooting stopped completely and he has been hailed as one of the few conservationists to ever achieve this goal.
During those early days, he had a vision for a conservation project that dealt with both the ecological and socioeconomic issues that impinged on painted dogs. With this vision, he founded Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), which grew to be a model for conservation through its incorporation of youth conservation education as well as community participation to achieve meaningful conservation.
Just recently, Dr. Rasmussen left PDC and founded the Painted dog Research Trust. Under this umbrella, Dr. Rasmussen continues his life’s work researching painted dogs while constructing a conservation ecology center. Through field research and mentoring, he hopes to progress young Zimbabweans as well as international students by inspiring them to be tomorrow’s generation of conservationists.
Dr. Rasmussen is a research associate and part time lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe with an affiliation to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University where he completed his PhD. He has a diverse range of research interests, with the most recently being energy budgets and how they contribute to the extinction of a species, and in particular, the painted dog.
Dr. Rasmussen was featured in a documentary in the “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” series after he survived a horrific plane crash in the Hwange National Park that left him crawling for help for two days with two broken legs and a smashed pelvis.
His unswerving commitment and passion for the painted wild dogs as well as wildlife conservation will be shared during his presentation at Rolling Hills Zoo’s next Taste of Adventure series on Wednesday, February 10th.
Tickets are still available for Dr. Rasmussen’s Taste of Adventure presentation. The Taste of Adventure experience begins at 6:00 p.m. and will feature the cuisine from Zimbabwe, along with a social hour, a self-guided tour of the Wildlife Museum, dinner, and the dynamic presentation by Dr. Rasmussen.
Admission to Taste of adventure is $30 for members or $35 for non-members. Reservation deadline is February 3rd. For additional information go to: www.rollinghillszoo.org or call 785-827-9488.