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Bale Mountains National Park listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

21st September 2023
Categories:
On Monday, 18 September 2023, during its 45th session, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) registered Bale Mountains National Park as a World Heritage Site. It is the second natural heritage site in Ethiopia to receive this prestigious designation, long after the inscription of Simien Mountains National Park back in 1978!

 

Paw Patrol: Abuna Yosef’s wolf monitor Dessiew Gelaw

27th August 2023
In northern Ethiopia lies the Abuna Yosef massif, peaking at 4,260 m-high with Mount Abuna Yosef. There, a small Ethiopian wolf population—around 30 individuals—lives surrounded by people and agricultural lands.

 

Reflections on first meeting Eric Bedin, EWCP legendary Field Director

14th July 2023
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In the very early morning hours, at EWCP Headquarters, at the heart of Dinsho Hill in Bale Mountains National Park, among the multitude of bird songs and the soft rustling of the junipers, there was the smell of freshly-made coffee and a tinge of a French accent…

 

Field diary from Simien Mountains: on becoming an expert Ethiopian wolf tracker

30th April 2023
Categories: Monitoring
By Sandra Lai

For one thing, our trip to the Simien Mountains to capture and collar wolves definitely did not start smoothly… Right before our departure from Dinsho, we were still desperately looking for some crucial missing equipment, our internal flight was suddenly cancelled, the car waiting for us up there broke down right after loading up the field material… It would take a few days for everything to settle down and for all the people involved to be able to gather in Simien Mountains. The Bale team, which consisted of me, Muktar (EWCP veterinary team leader) and Alo (EWCP monitoring team leader and expert trapper), finally joined our Science Director, Jorgelina, and the Amhara and Simien team already camping in Kechemo Buahit, the territory of the first targeted pack.

 

Modern technology to the rescue: deploying GPS collars in the Simien Mountains

28th April 2023
Categories: Monitoring
After Bale Mountains, the Simien Mountains host the second most important population of Ethiopian wolves. These rare animals are endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands, that is, they are found nowhere else in the world. The Simien Mountains, a World Heritage Site, is the inspiration behind their scientific name, Canis simensis – a species described in 1840 from a specimen collected there by German naturalist Eduard Rüppell. Compared to wolves in Bale, which are diurnal and relatively easy to find, Simien wolves are notoriously shy and difficult to observe. Reproduction is also not as good as in Bale: litter sizes are always small—seldom more than three pups—and several packs are not able to produce a litter each year. Wolf packs therefore remain small. In addition, some areas in Simien Mountains withstood many months of brutal fighting during the Tigray war until very recently. Recent research across the world have highlighted that human disturbance may shift animal activity to the night, with potential negative consequences on reproduction and survival. To address this question, after obtaining approval from the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, EWCP launched in early March 2023 a GPS collaring study of Ethiopian wolves in Simien Mountains. This is the first time Ethiopian wolves are tracked after the first study conducted in 1988-1992 by Claudio in the southern slopes of Bale’ Sanetti Plateau using VHF collars.

 

Field diary: Horse riding to the Web Valley

5th April 2023
Categories: Monitoring
By Sandra Lai

As promised, I returned to Ethiopia, this time during the wolf breeding season. And I decided to do exactly like the wolf monitors do and go to the Web Valley on horseback! Alongside the Sanetti Plateau—the largest Afroalpine plateau in Africa—, Web is the most important Ethiopian wolf study site in Bale Mountains. The ride from the EWCP Headquarters near Dinsho to the Sodota Camp in Web takes about 3 hours. By car, it takes only 40 min. But we would take a longer road, “the road for horses”, as Hamza, one of the wolf monitors, explained.

 

Towards eradicating rabies in Ethiopia – EWCP One Health workshop in Goba

26th March 2023
Categories: One Health
In 2018, Ethiopia launched a National Rabies Control and Elimination Program with the aim of eradicating rabies in the country by 2030. Rabies is a major public health concern in Ethiopia and kills > 2700 people annually, mainly in rural areas, with 99% of cases caused by a rabid dog bite. Livestock and wildlife are also affected by disease outbreaks, making it crucial to adopt a One Health approach to tackle this deadly virus. With the principal reservoir of rabies being domestic dogs, mass vaccination of dogs is one of the key actions undertaken by the federal government. The eradication programme is now in its Phase 2 (2021-2023), which goal is to implement dog mass vaccination campaigns in 13 selected towns in 9 regions. Collaboration is essential between all levels, from the federal to the local actors, partners and stakeholders.

 

New skills for a new year

24th January 2023
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As scientists and conservationists, we want to run the best projects possible to have the greatest impact for Ethiopian wolves. Building capacity is extremely valuable and our senior staff have been working hard to expand their knowledge, expertise and leadership, making the most of recent opportunities to collaborate with other African organisations.

 

New documentary: Dogs in the Wild

17th January 2023
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Welcome to the world of wild canids! Dogs in the Wild: Meet the Family introduces some of these amazing canine carnivores found across the globe.

This new documentary from BBC Earth explores the diversity of canid species, the reasons for their success and the threats they face.

 

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
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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
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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.

 

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.