Short Note: A friend just shared this article with me and it is particularly timely following my post concerning the branding of uber-iconic mega-fauna. The African Wild Dog has been “re-branded” by conservationists as the painted hunting dog or painted dog in hopes of drawing more attention to the plight of this endangered canid which is also known as the Cape Hunting Dog, the Spotted Dog, and the Painted Wolf, among other names. This is not unlike the practice of re-branding Spectacled Bears as Andean Bears. Both names have been used, but it may enhance conservation efforts to use a name that conveys a zoogeographic or faunal group designation. These bears were formerly called spectacled bears in most zoos, but now “Andean bear” is the preferred common name among conservationists, collection managers, and educators. Similarly, the Siberian tiger is now referred to as the Amur tiger, along with other species whose range is now confined to an area along the Amur river in Eastern Siberia & Northern China (Amur-Ussuri region) such as the Amur leopard formerly known as the Manchurian leopard. Likewise, the Amur falcon (formerly called the Eastern Red-footed Falcon), breeds in the Amur region. Although the raptor may not be particularly endangered (Least Concern- IUCN), the bird that winters in Southern Africa may benefit from the zoogeographic descriptor. Perhaps the Manchurian brown bear will be re-branded as the Amur brown bear.
For more about painted dog conservation visit http://www.painteddog.org/
Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus