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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Ethiopian Wolf

The Ethiopian Wolf is also known as the “Abyssinian Wolf”, “Red Jackal” or “Fox”, “Simen/Simenian/Simian/Simien Fox or Jackal” and “Horse’s Jackal” in English.

The Ethiopian wolf is one of the most rare and most endangered of all canids. The numerous names reflect previous uncertainty about their taxonomic position, but they are thought to the wolves of the genus Canis rather than the foxes they resemble. Recent molecular evidence even seems to indicate that the Ethiopian Wolf is a descendant of the gray wolf. As a result, Ethiopian Wolves are the only wolves in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is found in the Afro-alpine regions of Ethiopia, about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level. Only about seven populations, totaling roughly 550 adults, remain. They feed on afro-alpine rodents, particularly African mole rats and grass-rats. They will, however, also take small antelopes like reedbuck, the calves of larger antelope, hares and hyraxes. Ethiopian Wolves are diurnal.

When feeding on rodents Ethiopian Wolves tend to hunt alone, but they are territorial. They are social canids that form packs and defend territories. The pack, which numbers up to a dozen adults with a skewed sex ratio of several males per female, patrols and defends the territory.

The Oromo people of southern Ethiopia call the Ethiopian wolf the “Horse’s Jackal” because of its reported habit of following mares and cows that are about to give birth in order to eat the placenta.

Ethiopian Wolf