Simien fox

“Ethiopian wolf” by Charles J. Sharp, licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

Common Name: Simien Fox; Ethiopian Wolf

Scientific Name: Canis simensis

Conservation Status: Endangered (Marino & Sillero-Zubiri, 2011).

Habitat: Afroalpine grasslands and heathlands; these creatures prefer open areas with short herbaceous and grassland communities where rodents are most abundant (Marino & Sillero-Zubiri, 2011).

Range: Endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands confined to seven isolated mountain ranges. Populations occur north of the Rift Valley in the Simien Mountains, Mount Guna, North Wollo and South Wollo highlands, the Arsi Mountains, and in the Bale Mountains, including the Somaru-Korduroy range (Marino & Sillero-Zubiri, 2011).

Diet: Carnivore;  primarily feeds on afroalpine rodents such as common grass rats, and both the common and large mole rat; Also known to feed upon goslings, eggs, young ungulates, and scavenged carcasses (Bunker, 2007).

Threats: As an endemic species these wolves are specialized to the Afroalpine ecosystem, as such any perturbation of their environment and range can be detrimental to the remaining populations. ​​The conversion of the Simien Fox’s habitat into subsistence agricultural land represents the largest threat to their survival, this issue is worsened by the overgrazing of domestic livestock, and the proposed development of commercial sheep farms and roads. Disease epizootics, rabies, road kills, and shootings also threaten this species’ existence (Marino & Sillero-Zubiri, 2011).