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Up and running: a new field lab builds capacity

15th November 2022
 

From an old shipping container to a crucial field lab!

 

All the way back in 2020, work began to install a brand new field lab at EWCP HQ in Dinsho, Bale Mountains National Park. A facility was sorely needed as a base of veterinary operations, to process and store samples, and conduct post-mortems. The project started with the arrival of a repurposed shipping container, freshly customised and kitted out at the Born Free Foundation’s Kotteh Wildlife Rescue Sanctuary near Addis, by a team headed by Bereket Girma.

 

Field diary: joining the pack

25th October 2022
By Sandra Lai

 

When I described my new position in EWCP and mentioned that I would be going to Ethiopia to work on Ethiopian wolves, my friend Emilie exclaimed: “oh! so you are a biologist studying an endangered species in a war zone!” I froze… Was that really what I would be doing? Technically, yes, the Ethiopian wolf is classified as “Endangered” and indeed, Ethiopia is currently having some conflicts… so she was correct in a sense. What would the reality be like over there?

 

Student research: on dogs and wolves

11th October 2022
Last year we were joined by a number of MBiol students from Oxford University who used EWCP data to complete a year-long research project. One student, Naomi Hawrylak, conducted her study on the nature of interactions between wolves and dogs and is excited to share her interesting findings below:

 

Claudio reflects on 20 years of WCN

5th October 2022
Categories:
I received an email from Charlie Knowles in 2002, asking about our work to protect Ethiopian wolves and interested to learn how he could help. He pitched his ‘wildnet’ idea, and I bought into it straight away. Of course, had I been familiar with the entrepreneurial spirit infusing Silicon Valley at the time, it would have been obvious to me that the initial conversation or ‘pitch’ is essential for people to engage and bond. This ability to share our work and love for wildlife with other people, and particularly with philanthropists with an interest in nature, was just one of the many things we learnt with Charlie and his staff in subsequent meetings.

 

World Rabies Day 2022

28th September 2022
Categories: One Health, Threats
World Rabies Day 2022 

Vaccination works: an outbreak contained

We are marking this World Rabies Day by celebrating a recent win for the wolves in the campaign against the disease.

 

Field Diary from Delanta

20th September 2022
 

By Dr Jorgelina Marino

 

At the peak of the rainy season the EWCP team have been busy in the highlands of Delanta in North Wollo. Until recently one of the epicentres of the war, signs of fighting are still evident. Particularly in the nearby Gashena town, a strategic location at the crossroads to three main cities, taken and recovered three times at the cost of many lives.

 

Welcome to the pack, Dr Lai!

12th September 2022
Categories:
We are thrilled to welcome Dr Sandra Lai to EWCP! Sandra joins us in the UK for a 3-year postdoc with the University of Oxford’s WildCRU, and will soon be heading off to the Bale Mountains to meet the wolves. As she prepares for the work ahead, Dr Lai shares this thoughtful and emotive piece:

 

Terefe: the lucky survivor thrives

21st June 2022
In the hills of Shehano, perched in the slopes of the Simien Mountains, lives a unique wolf: Terefe. He is the first ever Ethiopian wolf to be nursed back to health and released back to the wild after a life-threatening injury. Following his successful rescue and rehabilitation in 2020 by EWCP staff and associates, we have closely followed Terefe’s journey since his release, thanks to his Lotek Litetrack collar. Though he failed to re-join his natal pack, Terefe survived well enough on his own as he roamed northwards, eventually settling near the village of Shehano. Here, he was joined within a few months by a young female wolf, and the Terefe pack was formed.

 

Oxford to Morabawa

19th April 2022
Categories:
Jorgelina has just returned from a much-anticipated trip to the field – here are her highlights!

The Bale Mountains receives me with their familiar contours against the crisp blue sky. At the EWCP headquarters, the place I love and call home, a warthog keeps me company. Eric and the team have left ahead of me to start the wolf captures in earnest before Ramadan begins.

 

Living with Wolves – Please drive slowly!

15th March 2022
Many of you will be aware that habitat loss has confined Ethiopian wolves to the mountain tops, leaving small populations threatened by lethal viruses teetering on the edge of extinction. Fortunately for the wolves, we are out in force throughout their range, monitoring and vaccinating packs and working with communities to protect their unique habitats. Through many years of work, we have been able to pinpoint the key threats that need addressing, and identify new ones as they emerge.

 

Ethiopia: Land of resilience

15th February 2022
Ethiopia has been facing turmoil for over a year, and our field operations have been in a state of flux. After many months of uncertainty, the New Year has seen us take the first steps towards resuming work as normal. With the spread of conflict spanning many of the mountain ranges where we work, our field operations throughout northern Ethiopia were suspended and staff pulled out for their safety. Now, as the situation stabilises we have been able to cautiously set out into the mountains once again. The safety of our staff remains our highest priority, though we are eager to check up on the wolves and people in the mountain ranges we have been unable to visit for some time.

 

May Peace Prevail - Giving Tuesday 2021

29th November 2021
Categories:
 

Ethiopia and its people are facing very troubling and unsettling times. Fortunately all EWCP staff, their families, our close colleagues and partners are well, and this is a welcome relief to us all.

 

World Rabies Day: Saving wolves, saving people, saving mountains

28th September 2021
Categories: One Health, Threats
Health has been central to our work in Ethiopia for many years. In protecting Ethiopian wolves against diseases, we learn that success requires simultaneously addressing the health of wolves, of the local communities and their domestic animals, and of the mountain ecosystems that sustain them all.

 

Conservation Councils: coming together to protect the land of the wolves

31st August 2021
The Ethiopian highlands support a diverse array of endemic animal and plant life but also boast vital natural resources for local communities, including firewood, pastures, water, medicinal plants and building materials. Achieving sustainability in the use of these resources is vital to ensuring resilient livelihoods and an alternative to land conversion to agriculture, the main threat of the survival of the endangered Ethiopian wolf. With this vision in mind, the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) implements the Biodiversity Friendly Futures project, promoting alternative local livelihoods that create additional income source while reducing the community’s pressure on the Afroalpine environment. This cannot be achieved without strong community connections and outreach efforts.

 

International Wolf Day 2021

13th August 2021
Canis simensis: A wolf in fox’s clothing

Ethiopian wolves may not look like the first animals you think when you hear the word wolf, but these rare canids are as much a wolf as any other. One of previously four Canis species in Africa (now just two following the recent reclassification of black-backed and side-stripped jackals), they are readily distinguishable from jackals by their larger size, relatively longer legs, distinctive reddish coat and white markings. Although often called the Simien fox or red fox (ky kebero in Amharic, Jeedala Faarda in Oromic), DNA phylogenetic analysis has revealed that the Ethiopian wolf is more closely related to the grey wolf and the coyote than to any African canid. Most likely, the Ethiopian wolf evolved from a grey wolf-like ancestor that crossed to northern Africa via land bridges from Eurasia as recently as 100,000 years ago, when Afroalpine habitats in Ethiopia covered vast extensions.

 

Spotting Leopards in Ethiopia's Highlands

13th July 2021
Ethiopia has no shortage of charismatic animals. From the small and strange giant headed mole rats to the elegant mountain nyala, the highlands are home to many captivating mammals. Among the more elusive is the leopard – but thanks to our camera traps, we still have the chance to “spot” them.

 

A New Chapter for Terefe the lucky survivor

31st March 2021
We are delighted to bring you news from the Simien Mountains we have all been hoping for: Terefe, the world's first rehabilitated Ethiopian wolf, is a lone wolf no longer! Not long into the New Year, we heard from Chilot Wagaye, a local community guard who has been keeping a look out for Terefe since he settled near Shehano village after his release. Chilot got in touch to tell us he had recently seen Terefe in the company of another wolf, one he believed to be female! EWCP monitors Jejaw and Andualem, led by team leader Getachew Assefa, quickly set out for Shehano, keen to confirm the sighting and learn more.

 

Breeding brings hope for North Ethiopia’s wolf population

7th December 2020
The Abune Yosef massif is one of the largest Afroalpine areas in Northern Ethiopia. Here, Ethiopian wolves roam in mountaintops surrounded by steep escarpments, spreading agriculture and sacred churches.

 

Helping communities helps habitats thrive

19th November 2020
Ethiopia is home to an astonishing 70% of Africa’s Afroalpine ecosystem, with an exceptionally high diversity of rare and endemic species such as the endangered Ethiopian wolf, gelada monkey and walia ibex. Fewer than 500 Ethiopian wolves remain in a shrinking and increasingly fragmented mountaintop habitat, living in small, isolated populations. Ethiopia’s growing human population, which currently numbers over 110 million, live mostly in the highlands, exerting immense pressure on their natural resources. The need for sustainable use is urgent to ensure that Afroalpine ecosystem services and unique wildlife persist in the future.   

 

First evidence for Ethiopian wolf captivity?

26th October 2020
Categories:
Today, Ethiopian wolves are only found in the wild, perched high up in the Ethiopian highlands – none are kept in captivity. This may have always been the case, as so far no records of wolves ever kept in captivity have been found – but historical evidence has arisen that could change this idea.

 

EWCP at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo

7th October 2020
Categories: Events
Join us on October 10 & 17 at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo!

The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) protects endangered wildlife by supporting conservationists who ensure wildlife and people coexist and thrive. An incredible community of conservationists, supporters and staff all united by our passion for life.

 

Terefe's Travels - an update on our 'Lucky Survivor'

7th October 2020
Categories: Animal welfare
Earlier this year, we experienced a world first for Ethiopian wolves in the story of Terefe. In the Simien Mountains, a badly injured wolf was rescued, nursed back to health, and successfully released back into his home territory. Thanks to a satellite collar, we’ve been following Terefe’s journey after his return to the wild.

 

Conservation in a pandemic: when a species can't wait

16th September 2020
Categories: One Health, Threats
As Covid-19 continues and we all wait for a safe return to normal, the less obvious effects on wildlife become more of a concern.

Wildlife has been a major focus of conversations surrounding the pandemic, from its origins to its impacts and lessons for the future. We have seen some animals flourish where human activity has dwindled, while others have been less fortunate and may be at risk where tourism has vanished. Conservation action has of course also been affected, as a wide range of activities are no longer possible due to the risks of spreading infection. Our own work has been significantly disrupted in Ethiopia since April as a result of Covid-19.

 

Terefe, the lucky survivor

20th August 2020
Categories:
Found seriously injured in Simien Mountains in May. Now reunited with his pack after an amazing recovery.  Read about Terefe’s fate – the first Ethiopian wolf ever to be nursed back to health and released to the wild. 

 

Making the most of lockdown - research continues despite pandemic

18th June 2020
 

2020 has so far seen a lot of disruption to our work, just as it has for many organisations. We’ve limited our fieldwork to ensure the safety of our teams and the local communities we work with, and international staff are unable to travel to Ethiopia. Fortunately, there are many tasks we can work on from home and we’ve taken advantage of the time to focus on our research outputs, aided greatly by the addition of researcher Beth Preston.

 

Meddling with dens puts puppies at risk

10th June 2020
 

We are used to responding to large-scale threats to the wolves, like habitat loss and disease, but the acts of individuals can have a real impact, both good and bad. We have recently seen a worrying resurgence in behaviours that can threaten wolf survival.

 

Walking with Wolves: humans may have roamed Afroalpine mountains for at least 40k years

3rd June 2020
 

An exciting discovery was recently made in the Bale Mountains, home to the largest Ethiopian wolf population.

An international team of researchers, supported by EWCP, visited the Fincha Habera rock shelter at the edge of the Web Valley, where their excavations revealed evidence of human occupation dating as far back as 47,000 years ago! This makes their finding the world’s oldest occupation of a residential site at high elevation, in this case an astonishing 3,469m above sea level.

 

Joining forces to expand a community conservation area and protect more wolves

28th May 2020
 

The Amhara region encompasses most of Ethiopia’s highlands north and west of the Rift Valley. Here you can find the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, and the breath-taking Simien Mountains, but also a less well-known Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area (MGCCA). This highland plateau is diverse in wildlife and home to many animals found only in Ethiopia, such as the Ethiopian wolf, the gelada baboon, and several rodent species.

 

From Vienna to the Bale Mountains - Short but unforgettable work experience with the Ethiopian wolf Vet team

5th May 2020
Categories: One Health
By Clara Buxbaum

In March 2020 I had the privilege to spend a week with the EWCP team in the field, in the Bale Mountains National Park. I have been to several African countries before and Ethiopia proved to me again that each country is, without a doubt, uniquely special. I was fascinated by the Afroalpine landscape, amazed by their local cuisine and overwhelmed by the hospitality of the people I met. 

 

Wolves Bounce Back from Extinction in Delanta - Part 2

27th April 2020
When it comes to conserving the endangered Ethiopian wolf, we never give up. In Delanta, where wolves have recently returned after devastating outbreaks of disease, we have been working with local communities to promote ways of earning an income that is compatible with protecting the environment and its wildlife.