Contact us

23 January 2006


Threats & long term trends in wolf numbers newly published

New Publication: Trends, dynamics and resilience of an Ethiopian wolf population - J. Marino, C. Sillero-Zubiri & D.W. Macdonald - Animal Conservation 9 (2006) 49–58

Abstract: Fifteen years of monitoring in the Bale Mountains provide a valuable time series to better understand the dynamics of populations of the endangered Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis in the face of epizootics and increasing human pressure. Line transect counts in four study areas were used to identify trends in the local abundances of wolves, people, livestock and domestic dogs (a putative rabies reservoir). Estimates of wolf abundance were validated against total counts in prime wolf habitats, where two local populations decimated by rabies in the early 1990s had recovered fully by 2000. Growth appeared to be regulated by negative density dependence, but the rate of growth was unexpectedly low at reduced densities. Limitations to rapid growth, including an initial gap for which data were sparse, are discussed. In a poorer habitat, wolf abundance estimates were less reliable but indicated slight fluctuations without an overall trend. A local extinction was recorded in an area of marginal habitat. With this exception, trends in wolf abundances were unrelated to trends in the abundance of people, livestock or dogs. Rabies emerged as the main cause of decline for high-density populations. The rapidly increasing livestock grazing pressure in Bale gives cause for concern, calling for further research on its impacts upon long-term wolf survival.

17 January 2006


The Lone Wolf Project reports preliminary results of its expedition to the Simien Mountains

Posted by George Busby

The Lone Wolf Expedition to Ethiopia investigated the status of the Ethiopian wolf, Canis simiensis, and its rodent prey in the Simien Mountains. Through an 18 man, 7 week expedition covering 5 different areas of the Simien Mountains, the Lone Wolf Project collected data on the presence of wolves, other large mammal densities, the habitat types, the rodent diversity and density as well as conducting informal interviews with local people.

The multi-disciplinary team reports that the level of agriculture was very high in all areas of the mountains that were surveyed. The density of domestic animals was high, which lead to large grazing pressure and possibly a reduction in the plant and fauna diversity. It is clear that wolves are easily distressed by human disturbance and try to shy away from it. It is also clear that the rodent density is very low meaning that few wolves can occupy a small area. Home ranges of wolves are likely to be large and thus the overall density, in an already fragmented landscape, is low. Indeed, in one area of grassland which was protected from grazing, not only was the rodent density greater but there was also a greater diversity in species of rodents.

The expedition also aimed to assess the needs and opinions of local people. Without the involvement of the people whose lives are intimately involved with that of the wildlife of the Simien, there can be little chance of constructively helping conservation in Ethiopia. This aim was achieved through interviews with the local Amharic people of the mountains. This third element to the expedition had the potential to give really useful answers to how wildlife and conservation scientists are perceived by locals.

Support from the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and the University of Gondar greatly improved the impact of our expedition and the expedition gained hugely from exchanges in our experience, knowledge and cultures.

The team concludes that that in order to address the conservation needs of the wolf and other endemic Ethiopian wildlife it is unequivocally important to include the needs of the people local to the area and those whose lives are also deeply entwined with the mountains.

For more information, and the full preliminary report, please visit the project’s website

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?