15 August 2005
Rare Addis Wolf At Risk
July 8, 2002. The Ethiopian wolf - one of the rarest animals in the world - is being threatened by farmers using poisons to protect their livestock, campaigners told IRIN on Monday.
It is the first time that the wolves, listed by the World Conservation Union as "critically endangered", have been killed as a result of poisoning. Conservationists blame poison for wiping out most other wildlife in the country, such as lions.
"If the poisoning of wild predators continues in the Bale Mountains, the threat to the Ethiopian wolf would be devastating," said Stuart Williams, who heads the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP).
"It is not only the fact that people are killing wildlife that is serious in this case," he told IRIN. "It is the indiscriminate nature of poison."
Only 500 Ethiopian wolves remain in the country. Most of these are in the Bale Mountains region in southern Ethiopia.
Williams said farmers were using poison to reduce the chances of their domestic livestock being killed and eaten by wild predators. In particular, they are targeting spotted hyenas which they blame for killing much of the livestock.
His team is currently devising a strategy to resolve the conflict between people and wildlife. They teach local farmers effective livestock husbandry, including the construction of enclosures for livestock to keep out hyenas. They also include the local communities in the management of the wildlife to ensure its protection.
The local authorities in Bale are now reported to be investigating the poisoning to ensure it does not continue.
Source: All Africa website