Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Saving rare wolves from deadly diseases

28 September 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Wolves Campaign News

Today is World Rabies Day and perhaps surprisingly Born Free is especially thinking about Ethiopian wolves – the rarest dog species in the world. These slender, long-legged wolves with their distinctive red-tinged coats live high in the plateaus of Ethiopia’s highlands, 3,000m above sea level, where temperatures range from freezing -15°C nights to scorching 25°C days. There are fewer than 500 Ethiopian wolves in the world, making them even more rare than the giant panda, and they are highly threatened by lethal viruses transmitted by domestic dogs especially rabies and canine distemper. 

This has been a tough time for the wolves, following a horrendous rabies outbreak last year, which killed many wolves in the Bale Mountains. Earlier this year the wolves in Bale were affected by a deadly outbreak of canine distemper virus, and the team recorded 35 deaths. But despite the rabies and distemper, the all the wolf packs monitored by the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) have all survived and the team reported 26 new pups, now around 5-6 months-old and full of energy! The next six months will be crucial for the pups, who will no longer be allowed to beg for food from their elders. They need to learn to hunt rats and feed by themselves. But with your help the EWCP will be keeping a very careful eye on them!

Preventing rabies and distemper remains the main priority of the EWCP, led by Born Free’s Head of Conservation, Professor Claudio Sillero. The team vaccinates thousands of dogs in dozens of villages against these deadly diseases. They also capture and vaccinate wolves during outbreaks, and are testing  oral vaccines which is much easier to administer, with promising results.

How you can help

We’re determined to help protect every wolf family in the Bale Mountains from further fatal disease outbreaks. You can help by adopting an Ethiopian wolf pack. From just £2.50 per month, it includes a personalised gift pack, free cuddly toy wolf and regular updates from Ethiopia. 

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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