Did we mention that The Ethiopian Wolf Project have their first magazine cover and article? Thats right! The Ethiopian wolves are the stars of the BBC Wildlife Magazine December issue. Want to have a quick peak inside?
Click here to go to the BBC Wildlife discoverwildlife.com gallery of images from both Will and Rebecca.
Our good friend Jaymi Heimbuch, writer and editor, has written a great article for the BBC Magazine and accompanied by some of Will Burrard-Lucas’s beautiful images from the EWP trip to Ethiopia last November has made for a beautiful 7-page spread.
The Ethiopian Wolf is one of the rarest members of the Dog family and is confined to a tiny range in the Horn of Africa. Although primarily a solitary hunter, the Ethiopian wolves also form tight-knit groups, containing between three and a dozen adults, with a clear hierarchy. They’re incredibly social animals with ritualised greetings and gentle sparring, they also collectively help to raise new litters of pups and share the job of defending their territorial borders against other packs.
Why do fewer than 450 members of the species survive? Despite being at the top of the food chain, little direct persecution and plentiful prey for the Ethiopian wolf there are two key threats to the wolves survival:
1) Human population; not persecution but as the human population increases so does our encroachment into the wolves’ habitat
2) Local dogs; most pressing is the threat from local herder’s dogs. Local herders use their dogs as a form of alarm against nocturnal attacks from leopards and spotted hyenas but unfortunately they are semi-feral – not spayed/neutered or vaccinated and being left to their own devices to source food and water they encroach into the wolves territory hunting the same prey as the wolves. These dogs carry two diseases which readily pass to the wolves: rabies and canine distemper virus (CDV). Coming into contact with either the dogs or infected animal remains often results in death, and not just for one wolf but the entire population in that area and it can spread within a matter of days
The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme is working to combat these issues, vaccinating some 5,000 dogs annually and to date has vaccinated some 65,000 – they also work to educate local herders about how canine diseases spread. Not only do the EWCP team vaccinate the local dogs but also the wolves themselves in an attempt to stop rabies passing from one group of wolves to another.
Beyond working to protect the Ethiopian wolf from complete extinction, protecting the wolf means protecting the habitat in which it lives. Why is this so important? The Ethiopian Highlands safeguards the primary water source for some 85 million people (Ethiopia is often referred to as the ‘water tower’ of East Africa).
With local people on side and the vaccination project expanding the future of the world’s rarest dog is looking brighter at last.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of BBC Wildlife Magazine – December issue.