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Mekonnen A.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Bekele A.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Hemson G.,Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme | Teshome E.,Frankfurt Zoological Society | Atickem A.,University of Oslo
ORYX | Year: 2010

The Bale monkey Chlorocebus djamdjamensis is a little-known primate endemic to the south-eastern highlands of Ethiopia. From August 2007 to May 2008 we surveyed to determine the species' habitat preferences and population size in the Odobullu Forest and its range across the Bale Mountains. In Odobullu Forest a total of 136 transects of 1.8-3.0 km were surveyed over a total distance of 280 km. Bale monkey groups were encountered only in bamboo forest, suggesting that the species is a bamboo forest specialist. The density and population size of the Bale monkey in the bamboo forest of Odobullu Forest were estimated to be 121-141 km-2 and 1,718-2,002, respectively. At a larger scale, we assessed the distribution of the Bale monkey in 40% of the bamboo forest across the Bale Mountains within the species altitudinal range of 2,400-3,250 m. We identified the areas to be surveyed using a 200 m digital elevation model and a 10-m resolution satellite image. We found the Bale monkey in five areas, three of which are previously unrecorded locations for the species. The Bale monkey is now categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, partly based on the results of our surveys. Although extensive, our surveys did not cover all of the species potential habitat and further surveys are required across all of the bamboo forest of the Bale Mountains and Sidamo region (the western extension of the Bale Mountains). © 2010 Fauna & Flora International.

Mekonnen A.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Bekele A.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Fashing P.J.,California State University, Fullerton | Hemson G.,Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme | Atickem A.,University of Oslo
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2010

Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) are little-known primates endemic to the forests of the Bale Massif and Hagere Selam regions of Ethiopia. From August 2007 to May 2008, we conducted the first ever study of the species' behavior and ecology, focusing in particular on its diet, activity patterns, and ranging ecology in the Odobullu Forest. We studied 2 neighboring groups (group A: 55-60 members; group B: 46-50 members) and conducted behavioral scan samples on the first 2-5 individuals sighted at 15-min intervals. Feeding accounted for 65.7% of the activity budget, followed by moving (14.4%), resting (10.7%), social (7.1%), and other behaviors (2.4%). Overall diet during the study was dominated by young leaves (80.2%), though subjects also ate fruits (9.6%), flowers (3.1%), animal prey (2.3%), shoots (1.5%), stems (1.4%), mature leaves (1.1%), and roots (0.9%). Bale monkeys consumed only 11 plant species; of these, the top 5 species accounted for 94.3% of their diet. The top food item, bamboo (Arundinaria alpina), was responsible for a remarkable 76.7% of their diet, with most (95.2%) of the bamboo consumption consisting of young leaves. Mean daily path length for the study groups was 928 m and mean (100% minimum convex polygon) home range size was 15.2 ha. Though we are cautious in drawing conclusions from only 2 groups, the larger group traveled further per day and occupied a larger home range, patterns suggesting scramble competition may be occurring in Bale monkey groups at Odobullu. The dietary specialization of Bale monkeys on bamboo makes them unique among Chlorocebus spp. and suggests an intriguing ecological convergence with the golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti) of Uganda and bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur spp.) of Madagascar. Their narrow ecological niche, limited geographic distribution, and bamboo harvesting by local people for commercial purposes place Bale monkeys at risk of extinction. To ensure the long-term survival of Bale monkeys, appropriate management action should be taken to conserve the species and the bamboo forests upon which it depends. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

Eshete G.,Leiden University | Tesfay G.,Mekelle University | Bauer H.,University of Oxford | Ashenafi Z.T.,Frankfurt Zoological Society | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Management | Year: 2015

People who perceive economic benefits and enjoy unrestricted access to natural resources tend to support ecosystem conservation efforts. Our study explores whether this remains true in remnant patches of Afroalpine ecosystem in North Ethiopia, where communal land provides valuable natural resources for the local communities and also sustain small populations of the endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). Questionnaires were designed to assess ecological and socio-economic characteristics of the livelihoods of the Amhara people living in Mount Abune Yosef and their attitudes toward Afroalpine and Ethiopian wolf conservation. Of the 120 households interviewed, selected randomly from across eight villages, 80 % benefited from natural resources by grazing their livestock and harvesting firewood and grasses. The majority (90 %) also suffered from livestock predation by Ethiopian wolves and common jackals (Canis aureus) and crop raiding by geladas (Theropithecus gelada), birds, and rodents, yet more than half reported a positive attitudes toward Ethiopian wolves (66 %). People with positive attitudes tended to live close to the communal land, to own more livestock, and to be unaffected by conflict. Many also recognized the need to protect the Afroalpine habitats of Abune Yosef (71 %), and this attitude predominated among the literate, households that owned land, had smaller herds and were further away. We discussed how people’s attitudes were modulated by human-wildlife conflicts and by the benefits derived from the access to natural resources in communal land, and the implications for the conservation of Afroalpine ecosystem and the flagship Ethiopian wolf. © 2015, The Author(s).

Gordon C.H.,Zoological Society of London | Gordon C.H.,University of Oxford | Banyard A.C.,Animal and Plant Health Agency | Hussein A.,Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme | And 8 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2015

The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is the world’s rarest canid; ≈500 wolves remain. The largest population is found within the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) in southeastern Ethiopia, where conservation efforts have demonstrated the negative effect of rabies virus on wolf populations. We describe previously unreported infections with canine distemper virus (CDV) among these wolves during 2005–2006 and 2010. Death rates ranged from 43% to 68% in affected subpopulations and were higher for subadult than adult wolves (83%–87% vs. 34%–39%). The 2010 CDV outbreak started 20 months after a rabies outbreak, before the population had fully recovered, and led to the eradication of several focal packs in BMNP’s Web Valley. The combined effect of rabies and CDV increases the chance of pack extinction, exacerbating the typically slow recovery of wolf populations, and represents a key extinction threat to populations of this highly endangered carnivore. © 2015, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.

Van Kesteren F.,University of Oxford | Van Kesteren F.,University of Pretoria | Sillero-Zubiri C.,University of Oxford | Millar R.,University of Pretoria | And 4 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2012

Ethiopian wolves, Canis simensis, live in large multi-male family packs, where males are philopatric and do not disperse. Within a pack, mating and breeding is largely monopolized by the dominant male and female, although extra-pack copulations are common, and subordinate males may sire pups in neighboring packs. Regardless of paternity, all males in a pack help rear the pups. We non-invasively studied patterns in fecal testosterone and glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations using radioimmunoassays of fecal samples collected from nine wild male Ethiopian wolves between August 2007 and February 2008. We tested the predictions of the Challenge Hypothesis, namely that fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations would be higher during the annual mating season, which is the portion of the reproductive cycle when mating and increased aggression typically occur, and lower when there were pups in the pack for which to care. Contrary to the predictions of the Challenge Hypothesis, we did not detect patterns in fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations associated with reproductive stage during our study period. Similarly, we found no patterns associated with reproductive stage in male fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations. Dominant males had higher average fecal testosterone and glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations than did subordinates, which may be related to higher rates of aggression and mate guarding in dominant males of group-living canids, a pattern also reported in African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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