A Tribute to Rebecca

As many of you will know, last month Rebecca Jackrel sadly passed away.

Rebecca was the driving force behind the Ethiopian Wolf Project. She first visited Ethiopia in February 2011 and fell in love with the wolves and their fragile high-altitude habitat. On returning home, she set about planning an ambitious documentary project with the ultimate aim of raising awareness and funds for the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program (EWCP). At this point, she invited me to be a part of the project, something that I will always be grateful to her for.

After successfully raising funds for the project through Kickstarter, we travelled to Ethiopia in November 2011 to spend 5 weeks documenting the lives of the wolves and their struggle for survival. It was during this time that I really got to know Rebecca, and see on a daily basis what a fun, generous and caring person she was. Her personality shines through in her blog posts from the period.

The EWP Team in Ethiopia

The EWP Team in Ethiopia

After the expedition, she worked tirelessly to follow through with the aims of the project. Gallery exhibits, magazine articles and talks helped raise awareness for the plight of the wolves. She also managed the production of our beautiful coffee table book in collaboration with Jaymi Heimbuch. Copies of the book were donated to the EWCP to help with their awareness initiatives and a significant portion of the profits from book sales were also donated to them.

Shortly after the book came out, Rebecca was diagnosed with cancer and her two-year battle with the disease commenced — a battle that she was to fight with inspirational courage and strength.

Right up until the end, she continued to commit her energy to advocating for the wolves. One of her final achievements was being awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition in honour of her work.

Certificate of Congressional Recognition

Certificate of Congressional Recognition

People as generous as Rebecca are very rare. It was a privilege to work with her on this project and I feel honoured to have been able to call her a friend. I miss her greatly.

Rest in peace, Rebecca.


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Scientific Drawings

Have you ever wondered about scientific drawings in books you’ve run across? What kind of talent does it take? Is just being an artist enough?

As it turns out it takes more than just raw talent to make a good scientific drawing.

Artist Stacy Hsu contacted us early this year about using some of our photos of the  Ethiopian wolf for her class in the Science Illustration program at the University of Washington in Seattle. I’m so glad that we said ‘YES’ because her work is beautiful. Stacy let us know that her final presentation to the class went very well – I didn’t have a single doubt.

You can see more images of the musculature and skeleton of the Ethiopian wolf as well as more of Stacy’s work on her website stacyhsu.com.

If you think scientific illustration is for you then check out the certificate program at the University of Washington, Seattle.

*** All images in this post are used by permission of and and are copyright Stacy Hsu. They may not be reproduced without her express permission. Please contact Stacy Hsu with any licensing or usage questions via her website stacyhsu.com.

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We had a lovely surprise this afternoon when a huge delivery truck pulled up and the driver said, “I’ve got three pallets of books for you! Where would you like them?” Weather must have been good and the customs folks in a happy mood because our shipment arrived three weeks early!!

We’ll be accepting pre-order for the next week-ish (until June 19th) as I get the prints assembled and set up our shipping center so be certain to order now if you’d like to receive your free print!

Order Now!

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Wildlife Artist Making a Difference

Linda DuPris Rosin has more than 20 years of experience in creating art in a multitude of different media but for the past 8 years she has turned her efforts toward making a difference for wildlife conservation. From small cats to elephants her passion for wildlife shines through in her watercolors and we are so pleased that she has turned her artists eye to the Ethiopian wolf.

You can see more of her work at www.lindarosenart.net – and remember art is for sale! Linda donates a portion of every sale to the Wildlife Conservation Network!

From Linda: “My goal is to share my reflections of the beauty I see in nature and to help bring an awareness to the public of what our role, as human beings, is towards our environment and wildlife.”

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Coming Soon….

We are so happy to announce that the culmination of the Ethiopian Wolf Project is at hand… our book, Hope at the Edge of Extinction, has been sent off to prepress! A lot of hard work has gone into making this a beautiful book that everyone will want to grace their coffee table. After we’ve approved the final proofs we’ll begin to take pre-orders so be certain you check back in the next few weeks – everyone who pre-orders will be sure to get an extra treat!

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Save the Dates

2013 is shaping up to be a great year for conservation and our friends at the Wildlife Conservation Network are working hard to bring you closer to the hard working folks in the field. Dr. Jane Goodall will return for the 2013 Expo!! So save the dates for these fabulous opportunities.

And on a personal Ethiopian wolf note…

Dr Claudio Sillero will also be speaking at the Houston Zoo on May 16, 2013 and at the San Francisco Zoo on May 18th.

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Happy Holidays!

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BBC Wildlife Magazine Cover Stars!

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.

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Show Time

It’s finally show time and we couldn’t be more excited!!! This week our Ethiopian Wolf Project exhibition opened at the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition features some of our favourite images from the 5 weeks we spent photographing the wolves in Nov/Dec 2011.

The show runs through November 4th, 2012 and this Saturday we invite you to an artists reception from 6:30-9pm.  Further, on October 16th, the gallery will be hosting a project discussion with the foremost expert on the Ethiopian wolf, Professor Claudio Sillero-Zubiri from Oxford University.

iPhone snaps of the exhibit do not do it justice – there is no substitute for seeing these images printed so please, stop by and take a few moments to contemplate the wolves and the beautiful land in which they live.

1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd.                 Tuesday-Thursday 11-7
Venice, CA 90291                              Friday-Saturday 11-9
(310) 452-2842                                  Sunday 11-7
Supporting art and the environment.

Admission to special events, including artist receptions,
is $5 at the door and will directly support our non-profit partners.

September 18 – November 4, 2012
Reception Saturday, September 22 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Lecture Tuesday, October 16 7:30 pm
Following the Ethiopian Wolf with Dr. Claudio Sillero-Zubiri
RSVP to: RSVP@theg2gallery.com







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Tools of the Trade

The most immediate threat to the Ethiopian wolves survival is disease passed on by domestic dogs, specifically rabies and canine distemper virus.  We talk a lot about the successes of the recent vaccine trial the EWCP has carried out in the Bale Mountains and we talk about the need to raise money to purchase vaccines for both continued vaccinations of the domestic dogs in wolf territory and an expansion of the vaccine trial for the wolves themselves.

What we haven’t talked about are the tools the folks need in the field daily to monitor the focal packs of wolves.  Wolf monitors spend weeks at a time in the field following specific packs in order to determine the health of the population.  It may sound easy — a stroll through a beautiful national park but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Bale Mountains are an extremely remote region with many packs living in areas completely inaccessible to even the toughest Landrover.  During the rainy season the ground is often so saturated with water that the deep mud is impassible to motor vehicles.  The solution is to use a time tested version of transportation: horses.

While arguably less expensive to care for than their US counterparts, the strong, reliable Ethiopian mountain ponies require the same veterinary and basic husbandry as a pampered pony living in California or Texas.  A donation of $350 will fully cover the care for a single EWCP horse for an entire year.

The remoteness of the wolf territory means that monitors can’t just run out for a few hours, make some notes and head home for dinner.  They have to spend days riding out to a pack’s territory and camp for weeks in the cold mountains while they make their observations.  There are no hotels or comfortable huts for them to stay in so they need to make certain they are completely self-sufficient with a study, waterproof tent, waterproof boots, cooking tools and a warm sleeping bag.  Outfitting a wolf monitor to enable them to work efficiently and safely in the field costs around $900.

And then, it’s all well and good to send them out into these remote areas… they may be able to say ‘I saw a wolf by the tallest lobelia tree in Worgona Valley’, but that information isn’t much good if it can’t be specifically tracked and documented.  A handheld GPS is needed to accurately map the location of den sites, pack movements and potential disease carriers.  Binoculars are also needed to find wolves in a landscape where they are well suited to blending in.  It costs roughly $600 to outfit a monitor with a GPS, binoculars and a compass.

Without these tools of the trade the wolf monitors wouldn’t be able to travel into the mountains to track the health and welfare of the species.  Rabies outbreaks would go unnoticed until all of the wolves had been wiped out.  The ability to identify and respond to potential threats is tantamount to saving this species and the wolf monitors are the front guard in the battle against the diseases which threaten the wolves.

Consider a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network so they can keep wolf monitors outfitted and in doing so, keep the beautiful Ethiopian wolf around for future generations to marvel.

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