PAINTED DOG TRANSCRIPT LONG VERSION
The African Painted Dog is amongst the most endangered species in the wild in Africa.
I think African Wild Dogs epitomize the threats that large carnivores are facing today.
Through efforts to relocate 24 of them from a national park in South Africa, to a national park in Zimbabwe, an extraordinary story emerged. Demonstrating for the first time a major trade in the animals reaching all the way to China.
Dogs in South Africa, in theory they're protected. But zoos want new bloodlines all the time. The only way to get them is wild stock. So a zoo trade is feeding an illegal trade of dogs being pulled out of the wild
Our Undercover VO investigation with animal dealers confirms these claims.
People all think that because they're endangered in the wild they're protected, but they're not.
I'm breeding for the last ten years with African Wild Dogs.
Yes, so the origin is from the wild?
Some of them, the origin is from the wild. Some from a breeding centre.
How many wild dogs are in China?
200 or 300, I don't know.
And all from South Africa?
The Painted Dogs were sent to zoos that treated they're animals like this.
The trade in captive animals is creating a financial incentive for people to remove animals from the wild. So that their offspring can then be sold as captive. If you take animals out of the wild and sell their offspring, you're laundering animals.
Yet to date, the official institutions meant to protect the African Painted Dogs have claimed that the trade does not significantly affect the existence of the species in the wild. Is the legal trade indeed marginal or is it putting the species at risk with the involvement of officials and zoos in China, Europe and the US?
As a conservation biologist, I find this reporting of trade of such large numbers of what is such a rare animal certainly astonishing. And there had been rumors in the last few years about some trade of live animals taking place in Southern African countries. But the evidence you're putting to us today is a real breakthrough.
This film is the result of an international investigation into the trade in African Painted Dogs. The investigation took four years, from 2005 to 2009.
The continent of Africa is home to what is commonly called the Big Five, the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. National Parks from South Africa to Tanzania and other countries are beloved by visitors worldwide. They come not only to see these animals in the wild but many other species as well. However, one animal on the IUCN redlist that's highly endangered and can rarely be seen is the African Painted Dog.
The African Painted Dog ...or as it is commonly called the Wild Dog. From a half a million a hundred years ago, today there are believed to be only 3000 left in the wild due to loss of habitat and hunting.
Lower Third; Dr. Claudio Sillero, Chair, IUCN Canid Specialist Group
African Wild Dogs were widespread in sub-Saharan Africa but then were persecuted and nearly extirpated in I would say over 50 percent of the range countries. Because of the requirements they have for large ranges - a single wild dog pack might range to 600 kilometers Ñ some of them may range to 2000 kilometers. So these are huge areas. And in these wanderings, they encounter people and they tend to get in conflict with people. Because of the increased fragmentation of habitat in Africa, there are going to be fewer and fewer areas large enough to sustain a large enough wild dog population. Therefore there is a crisis.
The crisis is heightened ever more with forest fires occurring in national parks and often as the dogs push out past the boundaries, they are perceived as a threat to livestock by farmers. Called the devil's dog by colonial farmers, they are in fact highly intelligent and social. Unlike lions, for example, they feed their young first.
Lower Third: Dr. Greg Rasmussen, Painted Dog Conservation
The dogs are not only highly endangered; they're also uniquely social. They're one of the few species that looks after their sick and their weak. And also they feed their pups first. They hunt collectively. They do everything together. They can't afford to lose individuals from the wild.
Because of the cooperative breeding nature of wild dogs, every member of the pack counts. They look after the pups. They bring food. They guard them and so on. And therefore any interference with pack life is potentially affecting the survival of the offspring. Therefore every individual in a pack does count.
Our story beings with Dr. George In Der Maur, a radiologist who through his travels in Africa became dedicated to the dog's survival.
Lower Third: 6:28
George In der Maur, African Wild Dog S.O.S. Fund
Look at these dogs. It's a fantastic view. Most people think they're dangerous. But see we're in the middle of them. There's no fence between them and us. They're scared of us like other wild animals.
Lower Third: Pilanesberg National Park
He tried to save 24 Painted Dogs from overpopulation and possible euthanasia at Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. Little did anyone know that this attempt at relocation would lead to an uncovering of a new threat to the animals: trade.
I was informed by Pilanesberg National Park that there were two packs of Wild Dogs in the park. And that was one pack too many, as their natural prey were being overhunted within the confines of the park, and the natural balance between hunters and hunted was being badly damaged.
Painted Dog Conservation,
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
He arranged to move the Painted Dogs to Painted Dog Conservation in Hwange National Park, a centre for rehabilitating the animals into the Wild.
The facility was founded by Dr. Greg Rasmussen.
All the dogs we've got in the facility at the moment are all a product of dog smuggling, with dogs being dug out of dens as puppies in Zimbabwe by South African operations and being smuggled into South Africa. And so what we have to do[RD1] we've intercepted these litters and we have to basically start to work out who should go with who and sort of matchmaking.
The project manager is Peter Blinston, who works to rehabilitate the dogs into the wild, even those who are smuggled.
Lower third: Peter Blinston, Painted Dog Conservation
We've had three incidents that we know of in very quick succession. We heard about these two dogs and somebody intercepted that. And National Park started investigating. We then heard about [RD2] well, it was then seven dogs, and we ended up with the four of them which we released now earlier this year onto the island. And then again it was seven that were smuggled, did go into South Africa. And after a lot of arguing and persuasion, and a lot of emails and phone calls and everything, we finally got two back which were supposedly the only two that survived.
If this Pilanesberg thing happens, the core of the pack will be kept intact, and they will be released into Hwange National Park after a three-month holding period here. And that's what this facility's all about, you know? I mean these dogs, who knows what life they would have had if we didn't have this facility for them? But all things being equal they will get back into the wild, which is where they belong.
Painted Dog Conservation also runs an education program for children.
Now who knows what animal this is? Who knows what animal this is?
Lower Third: Winston Nsimengo, Painted Dog Conservation
They are so open-minded. Even their teachers confess to say I have never thought this child would answer a question or would be so open minded. And then we say it's only the environment that you actually portray to the kids. Then they get more relaxed and open enough.
Means they're very few left.
There's very few left.
There's three thousand.
Yes,[RD3] there's three thousand dogs left in the whole of Africa. Have a book. Have a book.
Painted Dog Conservation shows Dr. In Der Maur why Hwange is a safer place for the animals, as they even have an anti poaching unit.
In two places, we found snares and got rid of them. They know exactly where to look. As a result, since 2000-2001, the poachers and the snares are greatly reduced. And the animals can roam freely. And that's why we are so happy that the pack of dogs from Pilanesberg can be brought here. Because here is enough space and freedom. And here they are relatively protected by the anti-poaching units. For us and the animals, it's extremely important that they are going to be brought here. And they're going to be protected by these guys who do fantastic work.
Due to delays in permits from South African authorities, the dogs were left for almost a year at Mafunyane, a private game reserve owned by Manus Pretorius, a self proclaimed international trader in quality wildlife.
When permission from South African authorities was finally granted, George and the team from Painted Dog Conservation came to the facility to collect the dogs. They were told they could only take 16 of the original 24 because 1 female was pregnant and another 7 had died. They were clearly told that the dogs were indeed one family pack.
But it's fine, eh?
I think they'll be fine
You think they don't fight with each other during the trip. It's the one pack, isn't it?
Lower Third: Veterinarian, Mafunyane
It's the one pack and they've been here since the 5th of November.
It's not too small.
So the dogs were tranquillized to prepare them for the trip to Zimbabwe.
Once the dogs were in Zimbabwe, Greg Rasmussen knew that there could be some problems facing the dogs after having been held so long in captivity.
Lower Third: Dr. Greg Rasmussen, Painted Dog Conservation
That year and a half in captivity will have greatly impacted on the chances of these dogs to survive. However we are going to do everything we can to make sure as many of them do survive.
The plan was that over time the dogs would be released into Hwange National Park, the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe and home to many predators and endangered species.
It was only after the dogs were released into the wild that Rasmussen suspected a problem, that many of the painted dogs may not have been wild at all.
Of the 24 dogs from PIlanesberg, we only received 16. One female was pregnant, so we couldn't take her. And we were told that the rest had died. When we got back to Zimbabwe, we realised that some of the dogs were not wild as we had been told.
Each painted dog has a specific pattern which identifies them.
We've checked on the photographic identities of the dogs and studied that very closely and found that we could only find two matches of the original twenty-four dogs in Pilanesberg. So it was quite clear that a number of the dogs had been switched.
Of course the consequence for the dogs that we received that were captive, once they were released into the wild, it was a death sentence. Where all the dogs are who knows? They could end up in horrendous conditions in China. They could end up in Canned Hunting. Who knows? Only the dealer can tell that.
Following Rasmussen's observations and allegations, an Undercover VO reporter tried to trace the dogs. He posed as an animal dealer to Manus Pretorius, owner of Mafunyane. Pretorius indeed claimed to have traded with China, and in offering Painted dogs claimed that some had wild parentage. This at least confirmed Rasmussen's allegations that traders were receiving[RD4] animals from the wild to create new bloodlines for zoos. (Alt: that traders were claiming to have animals from the wild)
Lower Third: Manus Pretorius, Mafunyane, South Africa,
Yes, second generation. Captive bred.
Second generation. So it means you have 2 or 3 parents from the wild.
Yes, I'm breeding for the last 10 years with African Wild Dogs.
So the origin is from the wild?
Some origin is out of the wild, others come from breeding centres, two different breeding centres. If I put them together here for two months, they may fight, there's no problem.
I deliver to Dalian Zoo. Dalian is also in China. I've delivered to Canada. So I've delivered quite a lot of them. Two months ago I delivered twenty dogs to Beijing. It was twelve males and eight females.
It went where, just a moment, I can't remember out of my head, just a minute, to the Tianjin Trading Corporation.
Over the last years, China has developed stronger ties with the African continent with its increasing need for raw materials for its fast growing economy. Hand in hand with this development is the importation of exotic African species to fill the zoos and keep the public enthusiastic about their animals.
Following Pretorius' lead, we went to China to meet the Tianjin Trading Corporation.
Animal Dealer, Tianjin Trading Corporation
First we quickly confirmed that Tianjin was trading with Pretorius and Mafunyane, this time with a shipment of cheetahs.
Night footage of shipment of Cheetahs
The dealer brought us to his secret holding station where the Painted Dogs had been kept but was [RD5] now home to ring-tailed lemurs, a highly endangered species from Madagascar waiting to go to Chinese zoos
The Chinese dealer confirmed other agents in Africa with whom he was doing business.
Yes, see there's more. See this? I can give it to you.
Oh vervet monkeys. Okay. From Arusha, Tanzania. I need an agent there.
Yes, this is my good friend.
Lower Third: Tanzania
The conditions that the dealer kept the animals in were obviously far from optimal.
Lower Third: Nazir Manji, Animal Dealer, Tanzania
How long have you had them here?
Lower Third: Filbert Rubibera, Animal Dealer, Tanzania
These? It's about three weeks now.
So only three weeks.
Yes, we are going to ship them at the end of June.
Where do they go?
China. It's 250 (USD) for Baboons. And for the Vervets, it's 120. And these blue monkeys, it's 150.
He claimed that he had been selling up to 4000 of the endangered monkeys a year to laboratories world