Somehow, we just don’t expect the rarest canid in the world, and one of the rarest of African carnivores, to resemble a common coyote.
But then, who knew that there’s an Afroalpine zone, or that it’s dominated by a rodent-eating
Watch this DOG stalk and pounce a la feline!
By “American cousins,” the narrator probably means gray wolves, not coyotes, although some taxonomists have called these Afroalpine apex predators “jackals” or “foxes,” too.
No fossils are known, but Sillero-Zubiri et al. suggest that Ethiopian wolves might have evolved from a Eurasian gray wolf ancestor that wandered into northern Africa about a hundred thousand years ago.
Those mountains are there because this happened back in the Oligocene.
It’s neat that what’s left of a geological event that some say changed Earth’s climate and can be associated with mass extinctions now hosts the most diverse group of native mammals on the planet!
There are only some 500 Ethiopian wolves today, as far as the biologists know, and they all live at or above the two-mile line — an altitude that is little frequented by local people and the various forms of wildlife that are plentiful farther down the mountainside.
This 30-minute video is in Ethiopian (presumably), but the images of beautiful Bale Mountains National Park — little known to many of us Westerners — are indeed worth many words (also, views of lions as well as of the wolf):
Here, in English, are the Wikipedia and UNESCO pages. Ethiopian wolves also hunt the heights in Simien Mountains National Park — indeed, their scientific name is “Canis simiensis”!
You might be wondering why these wolves are endangered, since they live in a preserve, far from people — it’s because there are few packs and the wolves are prone to disease, particularly rabies.
For example, rabies destroyed the pack this breeding pair once belonged to:
- Canid Specialist Group page
- The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme
- “Israeli company throws its workers to the wolves, sort of”
From this article:
A little lagniappe:
Featured image: David Havel/Shutterstock
Source: Sillero-Zubiri, C.; Marino, J.; Gottelli, D.; and Macdonald, D. W. 2004. Ethiopian wolves, in Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids, 311-322.