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Ethiopian wolves numbers on the rise

Ethiopian wolves numbers on the rise

The rare Ethiopian wolves, Africa’s most threatened carnivores, are beginning to recover from three tough years in their stronghold in the Bale Mountains of southern Ethiopia.

They are the rarest of the world’s rarest dog family, but recently wolf packs in the Web Valley, Sanetti Plateau and Morebawa have seen 28, 22 and 10 pups recorded respectively.

Time shave been hard for the species in recent years, with outbreaks of rabies and canine distemper virus, as well as a serious drought, threatening their numbers, and there are fewer than 500 Ethiopian wolves remaining in the world. They are threatened by loss of habitat, hybridization with domestic dogs and the spread of lethal diseases.

The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP), funded by Born Free and led by Born Free’s Head of Conservation, Claudio Sillero, has been protecting the species for more than 20 years.

EWCP Field Coordinator, Eric Bedin, said: “By the end of January this year, the number of pups located has been impressive. Nearly all wolf packs have bred successfully and some have ‘split’, increasing the number of families and breeding pairs. We still need to find a few more dens, while pups have not yet emerged from others. This season is incredible and we hope indicates a good recovery of the wolf populations in the Bale Mountains after three tough years.”

Professor Claudio Sillero, added: “Seeing the pups emerging from the den, and cared for so lovingly by the mum assisted by all members of the pack, reminds me why I’m in the business of wildlife conservation. These highland wolves are so fragile, and yet so resilient. Perched on the roof of Africa, they are a flagship for the protection of these special Afroalpine habitats and many other wild animals found nowhere else.”