The Ethiopian Wolf, or Canis Simensis, is one of the rarest carnivores in Africa.1&2 They are endemic to Ethiopia and are one of the most endangered animals in the continent of Africa.3
These wolves have long legs and a slender build with reddish fur on their bodies and white fur on their bellies.3 They used to be considered related to jackals, but thanks to DNA sequencing, scientists have discovered that they’re actually related to the gray wolf. It seems that their ancestor made its way into northern Africa through Eurasia over 100,000 years ago.2
Ethiopian Wolves only number 440 wolves.3 They live over 3,200 meters up in the highlands, in seven mountain ranges.2 Some of the biggest threats to their survival are farming that takes over their habitat and diseases like rabies and distemper.3
Just like other wolves, Ethiopian Wolves live in packs. However, these packs function a little differently than other wolf packs. For example, most of the time, Ethiopian Wolves hunt alone, not together.3 They usually go after rodents, which make up over 90% of their diet. Another difference is that usually only females disperse from the pack. Males don’t usually do it. The females will go off on their own and look for a pack that needs a breeding female.2
Because these wolves are endangered and continue to have a decreasing population trend, they have protection under the Wildlife Conservation Regulations in Ethiopia.2 Organizations like the African Wildlife Federation help to find community-based solutions to help these wolves, too. An example of a solution includes helping to improve infrastructure to build up the tourism industry so that local communities don’t need to rely so much on farming, which takes over Ethiopian Wolf habitat. Another solution is having community members monitor wolves and help give domesticated dogs vaccines against rabies and distemper so they can’t pass it on to the wolves.3
Curious about another member of the Canidae family? Let us know and we’ll be sure to cover it!
All the best,
Chris & the WERC Team