The Ethiopian wolf is a very rare canine species that may soon become extinct. As its name suggests, it is only found in Ethiopia, and it is said to be the most endangered of all canines. It was once thought to be a species of fox, but later classified as a wolf, therefore becoming the only species of wolf in sub-Saharan Africa. The coat is reddish gold in color and its underparts are white. Females are generally paler in color. Males are larger than females, weighing between 33 and 42 lb, and females weigh between 24 and 31 lbs. Their legs are long, their teeth are small, and they have long muzzles and small teeth. Their tails are bushy at the base with a black tip.
Ethiopian wolves inhabit afro-alpine or heather moorlands with plenty of open area and where a large amount of rodents are available to prey upon. They are territorial and prefer to hunt alone, but when ready to socialize or protect their territory, they form in packs of 3 to 13. Their preferred diet is rodents, such as the giant mole rat and other species of grass rats which they stalk and dig out of burrows. Occasionally, they hunt together to catch and eat young antelopes, lambs, and hares. Mating occurs between August and November, and the dominant female is the only one that breeds in the pack, giving birth to three to seven cubs after a gestation period of 60-62 days.
Presently, the Ethiopian wolf population may be less than 200. Causes of decline include reduction of habitat due to agriculture and disease (rabies and distemper) transmitted through domestic dogs. Scientists are currently working with rabies vaccines, but the Ethiopian wolf population is still highly unstable and may become extinct in the near future.
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