The World's Pre-Eminent Painted Dog Conservationist - Dr Greg Rasmussen
Dr Greg Rasmussen may have been born in London, but it is a fair assumption that his heart now lies in Zimbabwe, the country to which he and his parents moved when Greg was 9 years old. After attending boarding school there and departing Africa's shores for a spell in the merchant navy, Greg returned to Zimbabwe to pursue his childhood passion for the natural world. Since 1989, this indefatigable conservationist has been working for the betterment of the painted dog, even surviving a near-fatal plane crash in 2003 (featured in the documentary series I Shouldn't Be Alive) to continue his vital research, which as of today is one of the longest studies of the species ever conducted.
Greg currently serves as the Founder and Executive Director of the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT), an organisation dedicated to the long-term research of painted dogs (also known as African wild dogs) in Zimbabwe and other range states, including neighbouring Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The PDRT also provides training, mentoring, field work opportunities and financial support to Zimbabwean graduate students, as well as rangers and biologists who wish to contribute to the protection of Zimbabwe's wildlife. By doing so, Greg and his team hope to inspire a new generation of passionate, motivated and field-competent conservation biologists.
As prolific in community outreach initiatives as he is in scientific journals, Greg believes in a holistic approach to conservation that encompasses all stakeholders in a particular area, including farmers, schoolchildren and local communities as a whole. Working under the belief that people will conserve what they love, Greg frequently travels overseas and to villages and ranching areas around Zimbabwe to raise awareness of the painted dog, an endangered species that once ranged throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa but whose population has now plummeted to fewer than 7,000.