24 Facts About Ethiopian wolf


Ethiopian wolf, called the Simien jackal and Simien fox, is a canine native to the Ethiopian Highlands.

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Unlike most large canids, which are widespread, generalist feeders, the Ethiopian wolf is a highly specialised feeder of Afroalpine rodents with very specific habitat requirements.

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Ethiopian wolf is listed as endangered by the IUCN, on account of its small numbers and fragmented range.

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Alternative English names for the Ethiopian wolf include the Simenian fox, the Simien jackal, Ethiopian jackal, and Abyssinian wolf.

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European writers traveling in Ethiopia during the mid-19th century wrote that the animal's skin was never worn by natives, as it was popularly believed that the wearer would die should any wolf hairs enter an open wound, while Charles Darwin hypothesised that the species gave rise to greyhounds.

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Ethiopian wolf was recognised as requiring protection in 1938, and received it in 1974.

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Elsewhere, information on Ethiopian wolf wolves remained scarce; although first described in 1835 as living in the Simien Mountains, the paucity of information stemming from that area indicated that the species was likely declining there, while reports from the Gojjam plateau were a century out of date.

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The status of the Ethiopian wolf was reassessed in the late 1990s, following improvements in travel conditions into northern Ethiopia.

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Ethiopian wolf is one of five Canis species present in Africa, and is readily distinguishable from jackals by its larger size, relatively longer legs, distinct reddish coat, and white markings.

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Ethiopian wolf is similar in size and build to North America's coyote; it is larger than the golden, black-backed, and side-striped jackals, and has comparatively longer legs.

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Ethiopian wolf is a social animal, living in family groups containing up to 20 adults, though packs of six wolves are more common.

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Ethiopian wolf wolves have been observed forming temporary associations with troops of grazing geladas.

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Ethiopian wolf is restricted to isolated pockets of Afroalpine grasslands and heathlands inhabited by Afroalpine rodents.

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Ethiopian wolf uses all Afroalpine habitats, but has a preference for open areas containing short herbaceous and grassland communities inhabited by rodents, which are most abundant along flat or gently sloping areas with poor drainage and deep soils.

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Ethiopian wolf wolves have twice been observed to feed on rock hyraxes and mountain nyala calves.

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Ethiopian wolf has been considered rare since it was first recorded scientifically.

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Habitat loss in the Ethiopian wolf highlands is directly linked to agricultural expansion into Afroalpine areas.

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The Ethiopian wolf has not been recorded to be exploited for its fur, though in one case, wolf hides were used as saddle pads.

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Encounters with African golden wolves are usually agonistic, with Ethiopian wolf wolves dominating African wolves if the latter enter their territories, and vice versa.

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Ethiopian wolf is not listed on the CITES appendices, though it is afforded full official protection under Ethiopia's Wildlife Conservation Regulations of 1974, Schedule VI, with the killing of a wolf carrying a two-year jail sentence.

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Steps taken to ensure the survival of the Ethiopian wolf include dog vaccination campaigns in Bale, Menz, and Simien, sterilization programs for wolf-dog hybrids in Bale, rabies vaccination of wolves in parts of Bale, community and school education programs in Bale and Wollo, contributing to the running of national parks, and population monitoring and surveying.

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The plan called for the education of people in Ethiopian wolf-inhabited areas, Ethiopian wolf population monitoring, and the stemming of rabies in dog populations.

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The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme was formed in 1995 by Oxford University, with donors including the Born Free Foundation, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and the Wildlife Conservation Network.

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In 2016, the Korean company Sooam Biotech was reported to be attempting to clone the Ethiopian wolf using dogs as surrogate mothers to help conserve the species.

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