Monkeys, cats, and dolphins… what’s next? Dogs?
Well, now that you mention it… the Ethiopia
n wolf (Canis simensis
) is the world’s most threatened canid
, placed on the IUCN
’s Critically Endangered red list
in 2002, and is also the only wolf species found in Africa
. Numbering between 442 and 487 individuals, the Ethiopian wolf is a localized endemic
species, confined to about five pockets of grass- and heathland
The Ethiopian wolf has been brought to near-extinction by several factors. An increase in the human population in its habitat disrupted both the wolf and its prey due to increases in cultivation, fire, livestock, and persecution. Domestic dogs are also a threat because they compete with the wolf for food, transmit disease, and crossbreed with the Ethiopian wolf, hybridizing it. They may be the most immediate threat faced by the wolf.
Additionally, automatic weaponry that became available to the public due to civil unrest was also used against the Ethiopian wolf for a short period of time, though this practice has since been discontinued.
What does it look like?
Similar to a coyote in shape in size, it weighs between 30 and 42 pounds (13-19 kg), with the male weighing slightly more than the female. It has long legs and muzzle, and has bright red fur with white or ginger underfur, though the young usually have a charcoal-grey coat. Females turn a yellowish color during the breeding season.
What does it eat?
Analyzing Ethiopian wolf turds has revealed (through the wonder of modern science) that rodents provide the almost exclusive diet of this mammal. Specifically, the giant mole rat (Tacyoryctes macrocephalus) is the main staple, but grass rats and hares are also eaten. The Ethiopian wolves are most active during the day, but will become nocturnal in areas where they are persecuted.
/me refrains from making a joke about “doggie style” reproduction
Thank you. Both male and female Ethiopian wolves reach sexual maturity at two years of age. After a two month gestation period, the female gives birth to between two and six young between the months of October and December. Females only breed once every year, and only about sixty percent of those that do are successful. The young spend their first three weeks in a closely-guarded den, eating regurgitated food from the mother for about the first four months after they have been weaned.
What kind of social organization does it have?
The Ethiopian wolf lives together in packs of between three and thirteen adult individuals, sharing and defending the same territory. In spite of this, they usually forage and feed alone. They congregate for social gathers at dawn, noon, and dusk, and rest together at night, sleeping in the open.