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07 October 2009


Rabies Day 2009 in Dinsho

We are against rabies! Dhukkuba saree ni balaaleffanna!” A small band of demonstrators is marching towards us, placards waving, fists raised. It’s not quite a G8 protest, but this group is equally fervent about their cause. Rabies must be eradicated in their town!

It’s September 28th, Rabies Day 2009, and the Dinsho Primary School, situated on the boundary of the Bale Mountains National Park, has organised a demonstration to show their commitment to stamping out rabies in the area in order to protect the endangered Ethiopian wolf. The children, ranging in age from eight to 15 years old, made their own posters and banners highlighting the cause, and after marching through the town chanting their slogans, ended up in the grounds of the school where a presentation had been organised by some of the other pupils. This included a poetry reading by one of the students, as well as a play written and acted out by three pupils to highlight the dangers of rabies within the community and the threat the disease poses to the Ethiopian wolves.

Rabies is transmitted by domestic dogs from the villages surrounding and within the National Park, and is fatal to the wolves. Outbreaks have occurred in 2003, 2008 and most recently in May 2009, and have caused significant losses to the wolf population in the Bale Mountains. The Rabies Day event, coordinated by the EWCP education officer, was attended by local community administrators and elders, as well as other EWCP staff and school pupils. Not even a sudden downpour could dampen the enthusiasm of the children, and they made sure that everyone understood their message: “Save the Ethiopian wolf! Jeedala fardaa haa kunuunsinu!

Anne-Marie Stewart

EWCP Field director

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