Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid

by Born Free Foundation
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Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
Help The Ethiopian Wolf, The World's Rarest Canid
The new shipping container field lab EWCP
The new shipping container field lab EWCP

A new field lab AND team member, thanks to you!

Thanks to your kind donations, a brand new field lab has been established at the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme headquarters in Dinsho, Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. This facility will play a vital role as the team works to monitor and protect these rare wolves.

Cleverly created from an old shipping container, the lab will be a base for crucial veterinary operations. It will enable the team to process, store and study specimens – such as blood samples from wolves vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper. If, very sadly, a wolf dies from a suspected disease, the lab will enable vets to carry out a post-mortem.

The new lab project had started with the arrival of a repurposed shipping container. It had been freshly customised and kitted out at Born Free’s Ensessa Kotteh Rescue Centre, near Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa, by a crew expertly headed by Head of Centre, Bereket Girma.

The wolf team was also thrilled to welcome new member Dr Sandra Lai to the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme. An expert in mammals living in tough environments, especially carnivores, with a special interest in conservation biology, Dr Lai will be based in the UK as a three-year postdoctoral researcher with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. Dr Lai recently visited the Bale Mountains with Born Free’s Chief Scientist and EWCP founder Prof Claudio Sillero, to meet the wolves under the guidance of Eric Bedin, EWCP Field Director.

“I will carry out analytical work of EWCP’s long-term database on population demographics, social group dynamics, disease surveillance and vaccination effectiveness,” explained Dr Lai. “In the field, I will assist the running of EWCP’s wolf monitoring and field research projects, working closely with field staff.” Welcome to the pack Dr Lai!

New team member Dr Sandra Lai
New team member Dr Sandra Lai

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Terefe after release Jul2020  Fasika N
Terefe after release Jul2020 Fasika N

Great news for Terefe the survivor!

Thank you for choosing to support Ethiopian Wolves, the world’s rarest canid.

In the hills of Shehano, perched in the slopes of the Simien Mountains, lives a unique wolf: Terefe. He is the first ever Ethiopian wolf to be nursed back to health and released back to the wild after a life-threatening injury. Following his successful rescue and rehabilitation in 2020 by EWCP staff and associates, we have closely followed Terefe’s journey since his release, thanks to his Lotek Litetrack collar. Though he failed to re-join his natal pack, Terefe survived well enough on his own as he roamed northwards, eventually settling near the village of Shehano. Here, he was joined within a few months by a young female wolf, and the Terefe pack was formed.

Now, nearly two years after his injury, we are thrilled to share the news that Terefe is a father!

As part of their regular breeding season monitoring, Wolf Monitors Getachew, Jejaw and Andualem of the Simien team set out for Shehano and met up with community guard Chilot to check on Terefe and his mate. After an hour’s search across the hillside, the team were delighted to catch sight of one young wolf pup close to a den and had the pleasure of watching it play happily with its mother.

Ethiopian wolves typically have litters of two to six, so the monitors watched closely over two days for signs of any littermates but couldn’t tell if the single pup had siblings. Not to be dissuaded, a couple of weeks later Getachew led his team on a second trip where their perseverance was rewarded - they were glad to report a second, very shy, pup, completing the family of four.

Even though the monitors keep their distance to so as not to disturb the wolves, the pack is on high alert and they frequently call to each other. They are very skittish and alert to the presence of people, but each wolf looks in good physical condition and they are well-situated in suitable habitat.

We’d hoped saving Terefe would allow him to rejoin his family and were worried when this didn’t happen. Instead, he has gone on to forge his own pack and sire a new generation, an unexpected but very welcome outcome. Two new lives have begun from one saved – a promising success for a species for which every wolf counts.

Thank you for your continued support.

Terefe's habitat near Shehano
Terefe's habitat near Shehano
The rangers who closely monitor Terefe's pack
The rangers who closely monitor Terefe's pack

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At least two pups have been born  Admassu Getaneh
At least two pups have been born Admassu Getaneh

Thank you for choosing to support Ethiopian Wolves, the world’s rarest canid.

After months of uncertainty, the New Year saw the Born Free-supported Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) take the first steps towards resuming work as normal. With the spread of armed conflict, operations in northern Ethiopia were suspended and field staff pulled out for their safety, but now as the situation stabilises the team have been able to cautiously set out into the mountains once again. The safety of staff remains the highest priority, as the team begin to check up on the wolves in the ranges they been unable to access in recent months.

One such location is the Menz Guassa Community Conservation Area, some 250km north of Addis, which was ravaged by fire just a few short months ago. Fearing irreparable damage and loss of animal life, Wolf Monitor Mengistu visited the habitat of three packs, Regreg, Sefed Meda and Chichira Meda, where much of the land has been scorched by the flames. But despite the widespread burning, new guassa growth has been spotted shooting up from the charred ground in a clear and promising sign of the grasslands’ swift recovery. The local community lodge was also spared the fire and thankfully still stands.

The good news doesn’t stop there: Mengistu successfully located the three packs and was delighted to report all three are breeding. He spotted two puppies, just a couple of months old, stretching their legs in the early morning outside the den of the Chichira Meda pack, and confirmed that three puppies have been born to the Sefed Meda pack. This is most welcome news after such an anxious wait to know how the wolves have fared through the conflict. The landscape and its wildlife are resilient, inspiring our team to remain strong through the struggles and hopeful for the days to come.

Thank you for your continued support.

New shoots of guassa grass spring from the ground
New shoots of guassa grass spring from the ground
Wolf monitoring in the field
Wolf monitoring in the field

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A lone wolf (c) Martin Harvey
A lone wolf (c) Martin Harvey

Thank you for choosing to support Ethiopian Wolves, the world’s rarest canid.

Health is central to our work to protect Ethiopian wolves. In order to sustain and expand this fragile population, it’s vital that our work not only focuses on the health of the wolves themselves, but also that of the local communities, their domestic animals, and the mountain ecosystem that sustains them all.

Rabies and canine distemper are the main threat to the survival of Ethiopian wolves, and they pose a growing threat to African wild dogs and other endangered carnivores. Found within domestic dog populations, rabies can infect and kill people and livestock, and frequently spills over to wildlife. Many dogs roam freely in the rural highlands, and when they encounter wolves they can transmit diseases.

Supported by Born Free, the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) team began a vaccination programme in 1996. Since then, an average of 4,000 dogs per year have been vaccinated against rabies, and more recently against canine distemper. To be effective, a vaccination programme has to achieve and maintain 70% coverage, a real challenge in a remote landscape with a high turnover in the dog population. In communities where this vaccine programme is established, the team has seen fewer cases of rabies in humans and livestock, and positive attitudes towards wolf conservation have grown considerably thanks to its success and community and school, outreach events. Today, people willingly bring dogs for vaccinations.

Recently, the EWCP team has started a new oral vaccination drive within the wolf population itself. By consuming a piece of meat with a vaccine sachet inside, wolves can auto-vaccinate, which is cheaper, less traumatic and can be done preventatively.

After many years of political lobbying and research, preventive vaccination campaigns have been rolling out across all wolf populations. Great news for the Africa’s most threatened carnivore!

PLEASE NOTE, NOVEMBER 2021: Our hearts and minds are with our Ethiopian colleagues as they face severe challenges due to the current and evolving situation in the country.

Thank you for your continued support.

Vaccination in progress (c) Eric Bedin EWCP
Vaccination in progress (c) Eric Bedin EWCP

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Ethiopian Wolf Image  Martin Harvey
Ethiopian Wolf Image Martin Harvey

After months of living alone, Terefe, the rehabilitated Ethiopian wolf has found a companion, and their future is looking bright!

Terefe’s Story

Found with a shattered femur due to a gunshot wound, Terefe – which means lucky survivor in Amharic – was cared for by the Born Free-supported Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) team and successfully released back into the wild in 2020. As the world’s first rehabilitated Ethiopian wolf, his recovery and successful reintroduction to his home territory high in the Simien Mountains has inspired the team, and he has become an ambassador for his species!

But until recently, Terefe was very much a lone wolf…

The Beginning Of A New Pack?

Earlier this year, we received reports that Terefe had been spotted in the company of another wolf, believed to be a young female. Keen to investigate, Terefe was traced, and our team was able to confirm that his companion was indeed female!

The two were observed roaming together, running and chasing playfully, and a den was located, surrounded by fresh wolf footprints. Although it was a little late for the breeding season, the two wolves’ play-fighting behaviour could be a sign of a pre-mating courtship and an encouraging sign that they have built a close bond.

Could this be the beginning of a new wolf pack? With fewer than 500 Ethiopian wolves left, every wolf counts, and it would be the best possible outcome to see a new family grow from the saving of one wolf’s life.

At Ayenameda, where Terefe was housed and treated for his wounds, attitudes have shifted. After witnessing the incredible efforts and deep passion of EWCP staff, many local people expressed their appreciation for the endeavour, and their desire to protect their unique wildlife.

Thank you for your continued support for this vital conservation programme.

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Born Free Foundation

Location: Horsham, West Sussex - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @BornFreeFDN
Project Leader:
Victoria Lockwood
Horsham, West Sussex United Kingdom
$20,158 raised of $30,000 goal
 
585 donations
$9,842 to go
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