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The EWCP has expanded on various fronts during the last 12 months, including new personnel, more Wolf Ambassadors, and site-specific projects addressing emergent conservation needs outside EWCP’s base in the Bale Mountains. The priority, however, was to sustain a strong presence in Bale, where we weathered one of the most devastating outbreaks of CDV among Ethiopian wolves. Thirty-four wolf carcasses were found between September 2015 and March 2015, and another 31 adult wolves were unaccounted for in 17 focal packs in the Web Valley, Sanetti Plateau and East Morabawa. On average these populations declined in size by 52%, with respect to the previous year. In a positive spin, at least 28 pups outlived the outbreak bringing hopes for a population recovery. Our fight against infectious diseases included the vaccination of over 5,000 domestic dogs, in and around Bale Mountains National Park; the successful completion of an oral wolf vaccination trial; and a pilot of a CDV vaccine for Ethiopian wolves. With our partners in the federal government, park authorities and NGOs we have drafted an integrated disease control plan which is pending approval.
We are working closely with new protected areas in Arsi and South Wollo; we assessed the quality of Mt Choke as a potential reintroduction site; and worked with communities in North Ethiopia to create more sustainable and alternative livelihoods, compatible with Afroalpine conservation, such as helping establish local producers of fuel-saving stoves and honey. Our education programme reached 19 target schools across Ethiopia and many highland communities coexisting with the wolves. We are seeing the fruits of several small-scale conservation projects implemented by Nature Clubs with the support of EWCP. Fulfilling our pledge to help build capacity in Ethiopia’s environmental sector we supported the work of 10 researchers, mostly Ethiopian nationals, investigating topics of relevance for Afroalpine conservation. None of all these would have been possible without the generous support of all our donors, to whom we are grateful.