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23 April 2014


Hope for wolves in the new Borena Sayint National Park

By Jorgelina Marino & Gebeyehu Rskay
Away from the traditional tourism route, the highlands of South Wollo are amongst the most remote and less studied. Thanks to centuries of protection these highlands preserve one of the last relicts of continuous natural habitats, from Afroalpine grasslands and Erica forests to biodiversity-rich montane forests. And the good news is that the existing Denkoro Forest Reserve was recently expanded into the Borena Sayint National Park (BSNP), which now encompasses all Afroalpine habitats and the wolves they sustain.
In October 2013 we conducted a comprehensive survey in collaboration with the park, involving EWCP staff from Bale and North Ethiopia, including the two local, young and enthusiastic, Wolf Ambassadors. In teams of two we walked 83km over 5 days and sighted 14 wolves of a vibrant red.
The BSNP has an abundant prey base that could sustain up to 40-50 wolves, more than what we had predicted a decade ago. But there is no room for complacency. Habitat loss and fragmentation are significant, as agriculture carves out the increasingly narrow habitat corridors, and uncontrolled firewood extraction degrades wolf habitat. Newly built roads with increasing traffic run along corridors and ridge tops.
The survey helped cementing EWCP's relationship with BSNP, and for the coming year we plan further training and equipment for park experts, research on land use impacts, and the development of a resources management strategy to ensure that wolves and people can continue to share these remote mountains.

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