The Wolf Intelligencer


Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis)

Northern Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis simensis) NOMINATE SUBSPECIES(Rüppell, 1840)
Southern Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis citernii) – (de Beaux, 1922)

Common Names: Simien jackal, Simien fox,

Overall population: Fewer than 440 wolves. / Mature Individuals – 197

Physical description:

Original range – Ethiopian Highlands – “Roof of Africa”
Current range – Ethiopian Highlands

“With the main wolf populations found in the Bale Mountains National Park and Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopian conservationists are well placed to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals. Other small populations in Arsi, Menz and Wollo are increasingly receiving formal protection offering a good prognosis for the future. ”

Strategic Planning for Ethiopian Wolf Conservation / Canid Specialist GroupIUCN/Species Survival Commission 2011

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:

Habitat – Highest wolf densities are found in short Afroalpine herbaceous communities (1.0–1.2 adults/km²); lower densities are found in Helichrysum dwarf-scrub (0.2/km²), and in ericaceous heathlands and barren peaks (0.1/km²). Wolves are also present at low density (0.1–0.2/km²) in montane grasslands at lower altitudes. ICUN Red List


Prey –  Ethiopian giant molerat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus), Blick’s grass rat (Arvicanthis blicki), black-clawed brush-furred rat (Lophuromys melanonyx), typical vlei rat (Otomys typus), Ethiopian highland hare (Lepus starcki), mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni), Adal sheep (Ovis aries) reedbuck calves (Redunca redunca),  Abyssinian grass rat (Arvicanthis abyssinicus), Ethiopian narrow-headed rat (Stenocephalemys albocaudata), red-fronted gazelle (Eudorcas rufifrons)

“The giant molerat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus) was the main food item, followed in importance by three species of rats (Arvicanthis blicki, Lophuromys melanonyx, and Otomys typus). Ethiopian wolves foraged solitarily throughout the day, but occasionally small packs (≤6) hunted hares, young antelopes, and sheep.”

Diet and feeding behavior of Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis). Sillero-Zubiri C, Gottelli D. Journal of Mammalogy. 1995 May

“Mean densities of molerats ranged from 17/ha to 40/ha, and they were most prevalent in Afroalpine grasslands, particularly along swamp shores in the Web Valley. Wolf densities were greatest in habitats with highest molerat populations. Molerats spent just under an hour a day above ground, and their peak activity periods correlated positively with wolf foraging activity.”

Habitat selection and daily activity of giant molerats Tachyoryctes macrocephalus: significance to the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis in the Afroalpine ecosystem. Sillero-Zubiri C, Tattersall FH, Macdonald DW. Biological Conservation. 1995 Jan

“Small wolf packs occasionally kill mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni) and reedbuck calves (Redunca redunca) as well as lambs.”

A flagship species for afroalpine conservation: an over view of the status and conservation of the Ethiopian wolf. Tefera Z, Sillero-Zubiri C. Walia 25 Page. 2007

Non-Prey, Ethiopian Wildlife and Sympatric Carnivores –

African Golden Wolf (Canus Anthus), African Painted Wolf  / Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus), Gelada baboon (Theropitecus gelada), roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus langheldi), tora hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus tora), African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), Grévy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), Northeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii), dibatag (Ammodorcas clarkei), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), East African black-backed jackal
(Canis mesomelas schmidti), African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus), honey badger (Mellivora capensis), caracal (Caracal caracal), dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas), Lion (Panthera leo leo), beira (Dorcatragus megalotis), spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), walia ibex (Capra walie), Speke’s gazelle (Gazella spekei), Abyssinian mohr (Nanger soemmerringii),

Beautiful Birds of Ethiopia!

thick-billed raven (Corvus crassirostris), fan-tailed raven (Corvus rhipidurus), Somali crow, or dwarf raven (Corvus edithae), pied crow (Corvus albus), Cape crow (Corvus capensis), Wattled ibis (Bostrychia carunculata) Blue-winged goose (Cyanochen cyanoptera) Rouget’s rail (Rallus rougetii) Spot-breasted plover (Vanellus melanocephalus) White-collared pigeon (Columba albitorques) Black-headed siskin (Serinus nigriceps) Ankober serin (Serinus ankoberensis) Abyssinian long-claw (Macronyx flavicoilis) Abyssinian catbird (Parophasma galinieri) Yellow-fronted parrot (Poicephalus flavifrons)

Unique behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:


Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

Genetic structure and patterns of gene flow among populations of the endangered Ethiopian wolf. Gottelli D, Sillero‐Zubiri C, Marino J, Funk SM, Wang J. Animal Conservation. 2013 Apr


Further Reading

IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group / Ethiopian wolf
IUCN; SSC Canid Specialist Group (2011). Strategic Planning for Ethiopian Wolf Conservation. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. Oxford, United Kingdom.
Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio; MacDonald, David W. (1997). The Ethiopian Wolf: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan.

Canis simensis (Ethiopian Wolf) – IUCN Red List

Genbere, G.E. Ecology of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis Rüppell 1835) in a changing landscape: Human carnivore interactions in Afroalpine ecosystems of Ethiopia Issue 2017-09-05

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Managing conflicts between local land use and the protection of the Ethiopian wolf: Residents’ preferences for conservation program design features. Estifanos TK, Polyakov M, Pandit R, Hailu A, Burton M. Ecological Economics. 2020 Mar

Foraging ecology of African wolves (Canis lupaster) and its implications for the conservation of Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis). Gutema TM, Atickem A, Tsegaye D, Bekele A, Sillero-Zubiri C, Marino J, Kasso M, Venkataraman VV, Fashing PJ, Stenseth NC. Royal Society open science. 2019 Sep

Competition between sympatric wolf taxa: an example involving African and Ethiopian wolves. Gutema TM, Atickem A, Bekele A, Sillero-Zubiri C, Kasso M, Tsegaye D, Venkataraman VV, Fashing PJ, Zinner D, Stenseth NC. Royal Society open science. 2018 May

[PDF] Does livestock predation reflect in negative local perceptions of Ethiopian wolves in South Wollo? G ESHETE, C SILLERO-ZUBIRI, E CIERAAD… – Tropical Ecology, 2018

Going to the dogs: free-ranging domestic dogs threaten an endangered wild canid through competitive interactions; LR Perry, J Marino, C Sillero – 2018

Ethiopian wolves conflict with pastoralists in small Afroalpine relicts. Genbere GE, Marino J, Sillero-Zubiri C. African Journal of Ecology. 2018

Rabies and distemper outbreaks in smallest Ethiopian wolf population. Marino J, Sillero-Zubiri C, Deressa A, Bedin E, Bitewa A, Lema F, Rskay G, Banyard A, Fooks AR. Emerging infectious diseases. 2017 Dec

Community resource uses and Ethiopian wolf conservation in Mount Abune Yosef. Eshete G, Tesfay G, Bauer H, Ashenafi ZT, de Iongh H, Marino J. Environmental management. 2015 Sep

Wildlife resources of Ethiopia: Opportunities, challenges and future directions: From ecotourism perspective: A review paper. Amare A. Natural Resources. 2015 Jun

Canine distemper in endangered Ethiopian wolves. Gordon CH, Banyard AC, Hussein A, Laurenson MK, Malcolm JR, Marino J, Regassa F, Stewart AM, Fooks AR, Sillero-Zubiri C.Emerging infectious diseases. 2015 May

Environmental conditions and human drivers for changes to north Ethiopian mountain landscapes over 145 years. Nyssen J, Frankl A, Haile M, Hurni H, Descheemaeker K, Crummey D, Ritler A, Portner B, Nievergelt B, Moeyersons J, Munro N. Science of the total environment. 2014 Jul

Diversity of Medium and Large-sized Mammals in Borena-Sayint National Park, South Wollo, Ethiopia. Chane M, Yirga S. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research. 2014

Local attitudes towards environmental conservation and ecotourism around Bale Mountains national park, Ethiopia. Asmamaw D, Verma A. Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Science. 2013

Large mammals and mountain encroachments on Mount Kaka and Hunkolo Fragments, southeast Ethiopia. Girma Z, Bekele A, Graham H. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences. 2012

Consequences of human land use for an Afro-alpine ecological community in Ethiopia. Ashenafi ZT, Leader-Williams N, Coulson T. Conservation and Society. 2012 Jul

Small mammals of Kaka and Hunkolo, southeast Ethiopia. Girma Z, Bekele A, Hemson G. Tropical Ecology. 2012 Jan

An analysis of long‐term trends in the abundance of domestic livestock and free‐roaming dogs in the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Vial F, Sillero‐Zubiri C, Marino J, Haydon DT, Macdonald DW. African Journal of Ecology. 2011 Mar

Behavior of geladas and other endemic wildlife during a desert locust outbreak at Guassa, Ethiopia: ecological and conservation implications. Fashing PJ, Nguyen N, Fashing NJ. Primates. 2010 Jul

Competition between domestic dogs and Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Atickem A, Bekele A, Williams SD. African Journal of Ecology. 2010 Jun

Dietary specialization and climatic‐linked variations in extant populations of Ethiopian wolves. Marino J, Mitchell R, Johnson PJ. African journal of ecology. 2010 Jun

Conservation science for common ground: developing the necessary tools to manage livestock grazing pressure in Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia (Doctoral dissertation, University of Glasgow) Vial, F., 2010.

Atickem A, Williams S, Bekele A, Thirgood S. Livestock predation in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. Atickem A, Williams S, Bekele A, Thirgood S. African Journal of Ecology. 2010 Dec

Testing a passive tracking index for monitoring the endangered Ethiopian wolf. Evangelista P, Engeman R, Tallents L. Integrative Zoology. 2009 Jun

Combining genetic and ecological data to assess the conservation status of the endangered Ethiopian walia ibex. Gebremedhin B, Ficetola GF, Naderi S, Rezaei HR, Maudet C, Rioux D, Luikart G, Flagstad Ø, Thuiller W, Taberlet P. Animal Conservation. 2009 Apr;

Human-Ethiopian wolf conflict in and around the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Yihune M, Bekele A, Ashenafi ZT. Int J Ecol Environ Sci. 2008

Inbreeding is reduced by female-biased dispersal and mating behavior in Ethiopian wolves. Randall DA, Pollinger JP, Wayne RK, Tallents LA, Johnson PJ, Macdonald DW. Behavioral Ecology. 2007 Mar

A flagship species for afroalpine conservation: an over view of the status and conservation of the Ethiopian wolf. Tefera Z, Sillero-zubiri C. Walia 25 Page. 2007

An integrated disease management strategy for the control of rabies in Ethiopian wolves. Randall DA, Marino J, Haydon DT, Sillero-Zubiri C, Knobel DL, Tallents LA, Macdonald DW, Laurenson MK. Biological Conservation. 2006 Aug

Trends, dynamics and resilience of an Ethiopian wolf population. Marino J, Sillero‐Zubiri C, Macdonald DW. Animal Conservation. 2006 Feb

Threatened Ethiopian wolves persist in small isolated Afroalpine enclaves. Marino J. Oryx. 2003 Jan

Behaviour and ecology of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in a human-dominated landscape outside protected areas. Ashenafi ZT, Coulson T, Sillero-Zubiri C, Leader-Williams N. InAnimal Conservation forum 2005 May

The effect of the last glacial age on speciation and population genetic structure of the endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). Gottelli D, Marino J, SILLERO‐ZUBIRI CL, Funk SM. Molecular Ecology. 2004 Aug

Ethiopian wolves.  Biology and conservation of wild canids. Sillero-Zubiri C, Marino J, Gottelli D, Macdonald DW.2004

Threatened Ethiopian wolves persist in small isolated Afroalpine enclaves. Marino J. Oryx. 2003 Jan

Integrating epidemiology into population viability analysis: managing the risk posed by rabies and canine distemper to the Ethiopian wolf. Haydon DT, Laurenson MK, Sillero‐Zubiri C. Conservation Biology. 2002 Oct

 Common property resource management of an Afro-alpine habitat supporting a population of the critically endangered Ethiopian Wolf Canis simensis. Ashenafi ZT.PhD thesis, University of Kent. 2001

Impact of livestock and settlement on the large mammalian wildlife of Bale Mountains National Park, southern Ethiopia. Stephens PA, d’Sa CA, Sillero-Zubiri C, Leader-Williams N. Biological Conservation. 2001 Aug

Disease as a threat to endangered species: Ethiopian wolves, domestic dogs and canine pathogens. Laurenson K, Sillero-Zubiri C, Thompson H, Shiferaw F, Thirgood S, Malcolm J. InAnimal Conservation forum 1998 Nov

A hypothesis for breeding synchrony in Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis). Sillero-Zubiri C, Johnson PJ, Macdonald DW. Journal of mammalogy. 1998 Aug

Scent-marking and territorial behaviour of Ethiopian wolves Canis simensis. Sillero-Zubiri C, Macdonald DW. Journal of Zoology. 1998 Jul

Rabies virus in the decomposed brain of an Ethiopian wolf detected by nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Whitby JE, Johnstone P, Sillero-Zubiri C. Journal of wildlife diseases. 1997 Oct

Rabies and mortality in Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis). Sillero-Zubiri C, King AA, Macdonald DW. Journal of wildlife diseases. 1996 Jan

Diet and feeding behavior of Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis). Sillero-Zubiri C, Gottelli D. Journal of Mammalogy. 1995 May

Habitat selection and daily activity of giant molerats Tachyoryctes macrocephalus: significance to the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis in the Afroalpine ecosystem. Sillero-Zubiri C, Tattersall FH, Macdonald DW. Biological Conservation. 1995 Jan

Bale Mountains rodent communities and their relevance to the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). SILLERO‐ZUBIRI CL, TATTERSALL FH, MACDONALD DW. African Journal of Ecology. 1995 Dec

Canis simensis. Sillero-Zubiri C, Gottelli D. Mammalian Species. 1994 Dec

Molecular genetics of the most endangered canid: the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis. Gottelli D, SILLERO‐ZUBIRI C, Applebaum GD, Roy MS, Girman DJ, GARCIA‐MORENO J, Ostrander EA, Wayne RK. Molecular Ecology. 1994 Aug

The endemic mammals of Ethiopia. Yalden DW, Largen MJ. Mammal Review. 1992 Sep

The Ethiopian wolf–an endangered endemic canid.. Gottelli D, Sillero-Zubiri C. Oryx 1992 Oct

The wildlife of Ethiopia. Blower J. Oryx. 1968 May;


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