12 December 2017
Intensive monitoring of Ethiopian wolves by the EWCP (Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme) in core areas of the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) permitted early detection of a rabies outbreak in the Web Valley, prompting an emergency intervention to curtail the spread of the disease. Immediately after the laboratory test confirmed rabies, an action plan to tackle the outbreak was developed and authorized by the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Authority (EWCA).
An Emergency Response Team was composed with staff from EWCP, EWCA and the Bale Mountains National Park. The emergency vaccination intervention started on 23rd November and finalised on 29th November. In total 28 wolves were vaccinated in five packs in the Web Valley. Vaccination targeted the dominant male and female in each pack, to enhance the survival of the breeding unit, starting with the Genale packs in the connecting valley to Morebawa, then on the pack affected by rabies (Megity) and expanding to the neighbouring packs to contain the disease to this apparent nucleus. The follow up work includes intensive monitoring of all wolf packs in Web Valley, awareness campaigns and domestic dog vaccinations around wolf ranges.
Thanks to a quick reaction and coordination with BMNP and EWCA, vaccination started this time much sooner than ever before, after having found just one carcass and one sick animal. There is no evidence of further mortality, with monitoring focusing on determining the detailed composition of all packs in the Web Valley in order to identify any additional missing animals.
Find out more about the EWCP which is protecting the last remaining 500 Ethiopian wolves here.