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.
Beth joined EWCP in January after completing her PhD at the University of Exeter, where she studied the behavioural ecology of banded mongooses in Uganda. Like Ethiopian wolves, banded mongooses are social carnivores, a group Beth is particularly interested in researching. Based in Oxford at the University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Beth is now applying the skills she gained during her PhD to organise and analyse our data, helping to answer questions that can inform effective wolf conservation.
Since our work started in 1987 we have accrued a vast database packed with records of wildlife sightings, numbers of wolves and which pack each belongs to, wolf behaviour, and many more observations. With our detailed, long-term data set there are many questions we can investigate regarding the wolf population, the threats it faces and how these are changing over time.
“When I first started I was amazed by how much data the project had collected over the years, and how many interesting scientific questions it could be used to answer.
All of these questions can help us to protect Ethiopian wolf populations, and make sure that their chances of survival into the future are as high as possible.”
- Beth Preston, EWCP Research Assistant
As well as working with the database, Beth keeps in close touch with the team on the ground. She particularly values this aspect of her work as it gives life to the data – numbers on a screen are no longer two dimensional but fully embody the amazing animals, habitats and people of Ethiopia. Beth was due to travel to Ethiopia in May to meet the field team, but the ongoing situation meant the trip had to be cancelled - she still hopes to make it to Ethiopia when she can and to one day see the wolves for herself.
We are thankful to each and every member of the EWCP family for showing their support and working hard to keep protecting Ethiopian wolves, despite the challenges of the last few months.