Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Blogs: "Perspectives, Provocations & Initiatives" > From IDS to Painted Wolves- a 10 year reflection

From IDS to Painted Wolves- a 10 year reflection

Diane Skinner (MASSD01) tells us about her journey after IDS and her new conservation work with painted wolves.

Image: Painted wolves by Nicholas Dyer.
Image: Painted wolves by Nicholas Dyer.

From MASSD01 to elephant conservation

Ten years ago, having spent a wonderful year at IDS on the MA Science, Society & Development, I was staying with my cousin in London, temping while I applied for conservation jobs in eastern and southern Africa. A two hour phone interview with the Chair of IUCN’s African Elephant Specialist Group resulted in a job offer, a flight home to Zimbabwe to swap winter clothes for summer, and arrival into a very rainy Nairobi. I spent a wonderful six years with the Specialist Group, traveling throughout sub-Saharan Africa and learning all about the ins and outs of elephant conservation and all the associated policies and politics. I was able to use much I had learned at IDS, as my job sat right on the interface between science and policy, especially as the poaching crisis escalated across the continent.

Image: Baby elephant in mud CC0

Conservation in Zimbabwe

Four years ago, I moved back home to Zimbabwe, taking the plunge to work as an independent consultant. My work has kept me traveling throughout the region, but it has also been wonderful to work on Zimbabwean projects, including rhinos, elephants, birds, and most importantly, the future of community conservation in the country. Of course, the last year has been a bit of a rollercoaster in Zimbabwe, with major changes we thought we would never see, spanning the spectrum from euphoria to uncertainty and back again.

Image: Painted wolf by Nicholas Dyer

The painted wolf foundation

The year has also seen a major change in my life, as I have started to work on another highly charismatic, but atrociously neglected species, the ‘painted wolf’ (Lycaon pictus, also known as wild dog, painted dog and Cape hunting dog, amongst many others). Treated by colonial governments as vermin, the species has been extirpated from much of its range, persisting in just a few countries. It is in fact rarer than the rhino and lion, and certainly the elephant! Yet, there are few NGOs working to conserve them, and very little global knowledge about the species or its plight.

I have joined forces with conservationist Peter Blinston and wildlife photographer Nicholas Dyer to form the Painted Wolf Foundation, whose aim is not only to raise funds to support those few outstanding organisations working in the field to save them, but perhaps even more importantly, to raise global awareness about the species, and to place them onto the global conservation agenda.

More information, including the opportunity to get involved, is available at

Similar stories

Image: National Park Service- field of yellow wildflowers

Yellow Monday

IDS Yellow Monday (YM) is a weekly internal newsletter for current IDS Staff and Students. YM includes news, member travel and new publications and IDS Alumni can get exclusive acc… More...

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Useful online mentoring videos

Here is a selection of online mentoring resources produced by external UK and international organisations which you may … More...

Diversity Quilt, By Oregon Department of Transportation (CC BY 2.0)
Four things I didn’t expect and I’m loving in my Master’s year

Brazilian Scholarship recipient, Rebeca Da Rocha, shares her personal reflections as a student at IDS, and a resident in… More...

Image: pixabay
IDS Alumni Newsletters

Missing your exclusive IDS Alumni E-Newsletter? More...

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
IDS Alumni Mentoring - Best Practice

Getting the best out of mentoring More...

Most read

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
(“Digital”) + (“Disruption”) + (“Development”)>

IDS student Rebecca Webb (MADev12) tells us how studying at IDS has shown her how digital disruption could help reduce inequalities, accelerate sustai… More...

Image: Patrice CALATAYU (CC BY-SA 2.0) on Flickr
Autopsy of a failed Climate Change Policy: the Gilet Jaune movement in France

Current IDS student Myriam Mhamedi (MAGen32) shares her thoughts on the Yellow Vests; asking if they are an anti-ecology movement. More...

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash
Inclusive Globalisation

For globalisation to survive and sustain this nationalism wave, it is time to look within and become more inclusive. More...

Support IDS

Donate to the IDS Scholarship Fund and help change lives


This website is powered by