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.
Veterinary training in Zambia
In a change from his usual vaccination trips to Ethiopia’s mountaintops, EWCP’s Muktar Abute headed south to Zambia at the end of last year. He joined the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), a field-based research and conservation organisation, for hands-on training in wildlife immobilisation and monitoring techniques.
Muktar presented his work with EWCP to the ZCP team and discussed the challenges facing Ethiopian wolves before heading into the field with an experienced team. While Ethiopia has no shortage of diverse flora and fauna, it was a long way from the bushy lowlands of Zambia where Muktar was thrilled to see many new species he hadn’t encountered before in the wild, including elephants!
Throughout his time there, Muktar helped track and dart lions and African wild dogs, fitting them with new radio collars to follow their movements for research and conservation purposes, and trained with experienced wildlife veterinarian Dr Mwamba Sichande. Muktar was able to practice locating animals telemetrically, using an antenna and radio receiver to follow collar signals, and spent time in protected areas learning about the threats faced by wildlife from ZCP officer Dennis Zimba and an expert from Luangwa National Park.
One of the major issues facing Zambia’s carnivores is human-wildlife conflict and the ZCP team is experienced in its evaluation and mitigation so had valuable knowledge to impart. Muktar also assisted with the sterilisation of domestic dogs in and around a Game Management Area, a regular task to help control the population. His time with ZCP was a fantastic opportunity to learn from fellow vets and conservationists working to protect African wildlife.
Project management in Kenya
Meanwhile, two of our senior staff headed to Nairobi for training with the Asset Africa Institute in Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Amhara Coordinator Dr Girma Eshete and Community Team Leader Fekadu Lema took part in an intensive week-long worksho, joining attendees from all corners of Africa working in various areas of development. The group had a full-on schedule, packed with practical and interactive activities and discussions, networking and knowledge-sharing on the key elements of effective project delivery.
The workshop brought together a huge range of experience across governmental and non-governmental organisations working in health, education, and humanitarianism, producing a lively exchange of knowledge on operating and funding projects. When the week was up, Girma and Fekadu returned to Bahir Dar, our base of operations in the north of Ethiopia, ready to bring their best to their teams and the communities of the highlands.
There are many challenges to overcome, not only in the ever-present threats to the wolves, but the operational and logistical challenges of working across isolated mountain ranges throughout the country. We begin 2023 with fresh perspectives and motivation, new knowledge and skills to apply to our work!