Wonderful Wolves of Ethiopia

Posted in Africa | March 18, 2010 | Comment Now

Picture this. Sanetti Plateau among the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia. The mornings could not have been more chilled. The first rays of the sun stir an icy, cold wind instead of warmth. As I tug at my gaiter and move through the frozen grass, I have to remind myself that I am in Africa.

Out of nowhere, a wolf appears mere 20 feet away. Daintily, she throws back her head and within seconds a loud cry is uttered that summons four others of the pack. This time, all males. They greet each other by licking the fellow muzzles. Pawing and stretching never seems to stop. Tails continue to wag. It is hard to withdraw the eyes from such a wonderful spectacle.

Can you imagine how many colors are adorned on their beautiful bodies? The black and white tails blend beautifully with the red background. The chests are decorated with a white blaze. The fur covering their throats is also snow white. The area around the eyes has a dash of white, which gives them the appearance of laughing clowns. However, it is amazing display of colors on their coats that demands attention.

Their color leaves no doubt as to who is the boss? They are after all the top dogs. Ethiopian wolves are the only species of wolf found in entire Africa.

One after another, six pups reveal their beauty from beneath a rock. Their mother nurses them for a while after fondling them. The mornings are assigned for patrolling, and the mother and her companions are just about ready. The pups are left to the care of a younger female wolf. The wolves leave on a brisk trot and move through the icy grass with classic ease. The silver Helichrysum shrubs serve as a pristine background to the classic wolf beeline.

They appear as if they are asking us to join the party. Do you think I would let go of the opportunity. No way. In a moment, I am running behind the wolves in the African wilderness. The wolf species reminds me of the African ice-age world as they are the only species left.

The species can be traced back to 100,000 years. This was the time of a global ice age, where glaciers covered the peaks and plateaus belonging to the Bale Mountains. Wolf-like species entered chilly Africa from Eurasia. They could not progress further due to the arid and desert land. The species was cut off from the rest of the world and continued to thrive in Ethiopia, till today.

Research puts the figure of wolves at 600. This means that only 600 Canis simensis are scattered over the Ethiopian highlands. Bale Mountains has the largest concentrations of these animals. Their low population makes them one of the most endangered species. They have also made it to the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

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