The last Ethiopian wolves
Ethiopian wolves are a species known as Canis simensis that have become, over the years, one of the most threatened canines on our planet.
Characteristics of Ethiopian wolves
Ethiopian wolves are slender, medium-sized canids that are more reminiscent of American coyotes than European wolves . They have a reddish coat with lower body parts white.
The heat takes place between August and November, after which there is a gestation of two months that gives rise to litters of two to six puppies , which are kept in the burrow for three weeks. These young are taken care of by several females of the litter, even in the suckling of the young. These females usually leave the group at two years of age.
Behavior of Ethiopian wolves
Canids are a group of animals characterized by a general diet , and that is that they usually have a wide range of prey and carrion at their disposal. However, this does not happen with the Ethiopian wolves, which have been relegated to the high plains of Ethiopia, where the prey is reduced: these wolves are specialized in hunting rodents.
Due to its curious diet, it is not it is strange that its snout is sharper and its teeth are smaller than those of its European congeners.
This is why it is an animal that rarely hunts in a group, although it he has seen him capture antelope offspring in this way. Interestingly, they have been seen hunt among herds of sheep or even geladas, something that seems to benefit the hunt.
Normally, the herds of Ethiopian wolves live in groups of about six individuals, although there are family groups of 20 animals. Their territories and the size of their groups are related to the presence of food.
Habitat and conservation of Ethiopian wolves
This species has Relegated to one of the most striking corners of Africa: six mountain areas more than 3,000 meters high , which barely gives shelter to the 400-500 individuals that survive this species.
The Ethiopian wolves are, therefore, in clear danger of extinction , because they are considered the most threatened carnivores of the entire African continent. Why is this species so threatened?
The expansion of human populations has relegated them to these areas, in addition to the presence of feral dogs that produce hybridization and expansion of diseases in wild populations.
Examples of this are rabies foci that occurred at the end of the 20th century, which ended up with more than 70% of the populations known at that time. Distemper, although not usually fatal to this species, has also affected Ethiopian wolves.
In terms of habitat loss, the increase in human population density It has led to an expansion of agriculture that has greatly reduced the range of these populations to the highest areas. This has led in turn to the disappearance of natural wildlife passages that have fragmented populations.