Endangered Species of the Week: Ethiopian wolf
Species: Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting fact: The Ethiopian wolf is the only species of wolf in Africa.
Similar to a coyote in appearance, the Ethiopian wolf is a long-legged species with a long, pointed muzzle. It lives in the mountains of Ethiopia where it forms close-knit territorial packs numbering between 3 and 13 adults. Individual pack members tend to forage alone, hunting for small mammals such as the big-headed mole rat. They skilfully stalk their prey before pouncing or digging them out of their burrows. All the adults gather to patrol and mark the territory at dawn and dusk, and rest together during the night, usually curled up in the open. Male wolves seldom disperse, whereas many females leave their natal pack at maturity to seek a breeding opportunity elsewhere.
The Ethiopian wolf has been reduced to a handful of mountain ranges due to pressures on the habitat, particularly conversion to agriculture. Rabies and distemper transmitted from domestic dogs further threatens the survival of this species. The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) is working to conserve this species, with conservation efforts so far including a vaccination programme to protect the Ethiopian wolf from rabies.
Find out more about the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author