African Wolf Density in the Ethiopian Highlands and its Implication for Ethiopian Wolf Conservation

African Wolf Density in the Ethiopian Highlands and its Implication for Ethiopian Wolf Conservation

Project Animal(s) : Canids, African wolf (Canis lupaster) and Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis)
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : Africa
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : Yes

Project Start Date : June 12, 2018

Two species of canids, African wolf (Canis lupaster) and Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) co-exist in the Ethiopian highlands. The recently discovered African wolf is distributed in northern and eastern Africa while the endangered Ethiopian wolf is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands. With fewer than 500 adult individuals left in the wild, the Ethiopian wolf is the world’s rarest canid. Rabies and canine distemper had been reported as the most important threat for the survival of Ethiopian wolves; however, we have recently documented another potential threat of Ethiopian wolf as a result of interference competition with the sympatric African wolf.

The outcome of the interactions was affected by numerical superiority and territorial dominance which played a more important role than body size differences. High density of the African wolf implies further research and conservation management plan for the endangered Ethiopian wolf. In this study, we aim to determine the density of the African wolves across the range of Ethiopian wolves using call-up methods.

The study will be carried out in Bale Mountains, Guassa Community conservationArea, Borena Saynt National Park, Arsi Mountains and Simien Mountains. Call-up method is an effective and inexpensive technique for counting Africa wolves. I will play continuous gnu-hyaena distress calls and African wolf sounds for 40 minutes, 20 min broadcast followed by a ten minutes pause in two cycles of on an MP3 player connected to a megaphone. The density of the African wolf will be estimated using the model of Mills et al (2001).

The data from this study is crucial for the following points:

1) We have documented the African wolf as a potential threat for Ethiopian wolf and might contribute for the recent extermination of them in some of the Ethiopian highlands such as Guna Mountains. Therefore, the data will provide valuable information to guide the conservation efforts of the endangered Ethiopian wolf.

2) The African wolf is data deficient in IUCN red list and this project will provide important data for the population status of the African wolf in the Ethiopian highlands.

3) The study also sources of information for developing mitigation measures of the serious Human-African wolf conflict in the Ethiopian highlands.

Project Researcher : Tariku Mekonnen Gutema

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