Ethiopian wolf

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On Wednesday we came back from a three-day trip to the Bale Mountains in the south of Ethiopia. The area around the Bale Mountains is very beautiful and often breathtakingly rich in contrasts. From green pastures and fields of barley and wheat we climbed up through alpine forests to the stony plateau, that is loosely covered in short grass and low, hardy shrubs that duck to the ground to avoid the harsh and cold winds. The most numerous inhabitants of this plateau seem to be members of about 16 species (according to our guide) of rodents. We saw them everywhere, scurrying from stone to shrub to their burrow entrances. There seemed to be no square meter without a more or less freshly dug hole in the ground. The diggers are hunted by quite a few birds of prey, but also by the rare Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). There are about 550 wolves left (all in Ethiopia) and the Bale Mountains provide refuge for approximately 350 individuals.  Fortunately for us, we had a very good guide that knew the territories of some of the packs. We encountered three individuals from different packs, despite bouts of rain and a hail storm that kept the rodents under ground and the wolves in hiding. I put two more wolf pictures in the Africa gallery. Next time we visit the Bale Mountains, we will do a 6 or 10 day long trek from hut to hut on horseback and spend more time in this wonderful area.

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