The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Symbol of Abyssinia

Abyssinian Wolf
Critically Endangered

The Abyssinian Wolf is the rarest Canine in the world. They range has been greatly reduced to only a few Royal Parks and Preserves in the Ethiopian Highlands. At most, 500 remain in the wild. Before the Dutch conquest of Ethiopian, the Abyssinian Wolf had a precarious relationship with the Ethiopians. Some tribes in the north of Abyssinia would use the wolf’s liver as a traditional medicine. Aside from that, there was little persecution since they prey mostly on the various species of rodents and, compared to hyena and jackals, they pretty much left livestock alone. When Dutch colonists flocked in during the 1890s, they brought their European prejudice of wolves. In the early 20th Century, bounties were placed on the heads of the wolves, whom were feared to destroy the livestock of the newcomers. The species was nearly wiped out by 1939, with an estimated 37 left alive. The wolves that lived in excess of 3,000 meters above sea level were protected due to lack of human inhabitation. By the 1970s, naturalists finally realized the nature of the Abyssinian Wolf and its importance in the ecosystem. Since then, they have been protected, and viewed as a national symbol by some Abyssinians. The wolf has become a cultural icon, appearing on stamps, Abyssinian-printed Dutch Guilders (10 guilder note) and even appeared in a 1990s cartoon serial. There are no captive breeding programs, nor any Abyssinian Wolves in zoos. They are kept on their preservations. This may change in years to come, as a rabies outbreak in one of their preserves resulted in a 67% fatality rate of the local population.

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