By Claudio Sillero, Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program Founder
A new outbreak of rabies in Ethiopia now threatens the survival of the Ethiopian wolf.
In 1987, I arrived in the Bale Mountains of southern Ethiopia to study this little-known highland carnivore. From the instant I glimpsed these majestic animals – the Guardians of the Roof of Africa, as I like to think of them – I knew that it would be hard to walk away.
Fewer than 500 Ethiopian wolves remain, meaning that they are three times more rare than giant pandas. The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program that I started nearly three decades ago works tirelessly to secure a future for this national treasure. However, farmers continue to move closer and closer to wolf habitat, bringing with them domestic dogs that risk passing the lethal rabies virus to their wild cousins. Although many of EWCP’s field efforts seek to minimize the risk of rabies, an outbreak could wipe out the last remaining wolves.
A few weeks ago, our greatest fear was realized when a dead wolf tested positive for the disease. Since then there have been another six confirmed deaths.
Immediately we sought permission from the government to intervene and set up an Emergency Response Team with the wildlife authorities. We have been busy battling wet and blustery weather at 13,500 feet to capture and vaccinate the wolves of Sanetti Plateau. We are working to stop this outbreak in its tracks by vaccinating domestic dogs in nearby villages and monitoring the wolves’ health throughout the next year. We need your help to make this intervention possible.
You can help save the Ethiopian wolves by donating to our work. In addition, 100% of proceeds from any copies of Lobelia Press’s award-winning The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction purchased from the official website will be donated to the emergency efforts.
I hope together we can give the Ethiopian wolves a future.