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Oxford to Morabawa

19th April 2022
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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.

Early in the morning I get a lift. I meet my old friend and colleague Edris on a dirt track ad together we covered the last stretch to our campsite on foot. We finally make it to the camp, a hamlet of tents in a remote corner of Morabawa, which I am visiting for the first time. You never get to know the Bale Mountains fully!

 

Before dark I helped setup the traps and asked Alo to teach me all the tricks – he has done this for over two decades and has vast knowledge to pass on. No wolves tonight though, so the team have a well-earned rest after a couple of busy days in the territory of the Chalalaka pack, where they trapped and vaccinated eight wolves. After sunset, the team gathers to break the fast and shares the food prepared by Sophie in the kitchen tent.

 

The following day two young females are caught and there is a rush of excitement! The vet team leader Muktar anesthetises both animals and starts procedures, while I focus on testing the improved version of our app, designed to collect a wide range of data using tablets. After no more than 20 minutes, the sisters wake up and leave with an unsteady pace, wearing colourful tags in each ear. They are now protected against rabies and canine distemper, better prepared to cope with the risks of sharing their habitat with domestic dogs.

 

After two more days, it is time to pack up camp. I look down over the Chalalaka valley and marvel at the beauty and richness of this landscape. A paradise for giant mole rats, the wolves’ favourite food, where five healthy wolf families live, now fully vaccinated and thriving.

 

This is a land shared by wildlife, people and their livestock. I feel lucky today that I can contribute to a future where people and wildlife live together in the Bale Mountains.

 

 

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