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How oral vaccines could save Ethiopian wolves from extinction

One-Health focused mass vaccination programs could go wild in 2018

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9:00am, March 22, 2018
wolf pup

SAVING THE WOLVES  With less land to roam and dogborne diseases closing in, Ethiopian wolves stand on the ledge of extinction.

Deep in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, wildlife workers trek up above 9,800 feet to save some of the world’s most rare carnivores, Ethiopian wolves.

“It’s cold, tough work,” says Eric Bedin, who leads the field monitoring team in its uphill battle.

In this sparse, sometimes snowy landscape, the lanky and ginger-colored wolves (Canis simensis) reign as the region’s apex predators. Yet the combined threats of rabies, canine distemper and habitat reduction have the animals cornered.

Bedin and his colleagues, traveling by horse and on foot through dramatically shifting temperatures and weather, track these solitary hunters for weeks at a time. Team members know every wolf in most packs in these mountains. The team has vaccinated some wolves against rabies, only to have hopes dashed when the animals died of distemper months later.

“These guys work their asses off to protect these wolves,” says Claudio Sillero, a

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