Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Graham Norton

Graham Norton is an Irish actor, comic and TV presenter, who achieved fame as Farther Furlong in the acclaimed Ch4 series Father Ted.  Graham went on to host his own chat shows including So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton.  Listed by The Observer as one of Britain’s 50 funniest acts, Graham has hosted the BBC’s Strictly Dance Fever, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do.  Recently he travelled to Ethiopia with Born Free to investigate the plight of the rare Ethiopian wolf for the BBC’s forthcoming Saving Planet Earth series, here is his report.

When I arrived in Ethiopia I was expecting a few dirty dog-like wolves and a bit of a desert.  It's so not like that.  It's absolutely gorgeous, the sort of scenery that makes you cry.

It's hard to believe how, in such an unspoilt wilderness, there are just a handful of wolves left.

There's about 3,000 human families living up here now and more moving in.  So the threat to the wolves is growing.  They're basically marooned at the top of these mountains, with nowhere left to go.

In 1991 rabies wiped out three quarters of this wolf population.  The disease spreads easily from local dogs, which are kept by the villagers to protect their livestock from hyenas.  But for the people who live here, it's about staying alive too, so it's hard to blame them for wanting to live where there's water and land to farm.

I'm just so impressed and really honoured to have spent time with Claudio Sillero and his team.  They've vaccinated over 40,000 dogs against rabies and canine distemper.  The locals recognise these guys are a good idea.  There’s money coming in because of this conservation programme – and that’s good for people.

I don't think it’s just about saying, 'wouldn't it be nice if these wolves stayed alive.'  It's about saying, 'these wolves have to stay alive, because if these wolves are dead that means the mountains are dead, and that means no clean water for millions of people.'  It's not about prioritising animals over people, it's about the bigger picture, the planet.

Other ways to help

Ethiopian wolf

Help the Ethiopian wolf with a donation - or you can even by some boots for a wolf warden. More...

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

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