Population Status and Feeding Ecology of the Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis) in and around Borena - Sayint National Park, South Wollo, Ethiopia

Yigrem Kebede Mundanthra Balakrishnan


A study on the population status, distribution and feeding ecology of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) was carried out in the Borena-Sayint National Park, Southern Ethiopia during October, 2010 – March, 2011 including wet and dry seasons. Distance sampling line-transect count method was used to estimate the population of Ethiopian wolf. A total of 29 and 34 wolves were counted during wet and dry seasons, respectively. The sex ratio of adult male to adult female was 2.5:1.00. Pack size changed seasonally. The sex structure of Ethiopian wolf was adult male 34.48%, adult female 13.79%, sub-adult males 27.59%, sub-adult females 13.79 % and young 10.34%. The age ratio of adult to young was 1:4.67 both during dry and wet seasons. There was no significant difference among the total population number, age and sex categories, and the pack size during dry and wet seasons (P > 0.05). The mean pack size was 3 ± 0.25. The pack composition varied with season, forming larger packs during the dry season. The occurrence of food items in the scats significantly differed (P < 0.01). Rodents were the principal prey items with 69.2% frequency of occurrence. Grass blades and bird feathers also formed the diet components. Among livestock, remains of sheep were identified in few scats. Distribution and vegetation utilization of the Ethiopian wolf showed a marked preference for Lobelia-Hypericum habitats. However, there was a seasonal change in the preference of habitat. The main threats of the Ethiopian wolves in the study area were grass collection, livestock grazing, encroachment and related environmental problems. It is necessary to educate the local people and conservation issues of the Ethiopian wolf to enhance the coexistence of the Ethiopian wolf with human beings.

Keywords: Ethiopian wolf, feeding ecology, habitat preference, population status, threat.

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