Ethiopian Wolf Rescue
A targeted rabies vaccination program that reaches only thirty percent of the population appears to be having good results in protecting the critically endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). On the other hand, widespread but untargeted use of the vaccine does not prevent the spread of the disease.
Ethiopian wolves only live in isolated enclaves in the Bale Mountains in the highlands of the East African state in a total of about 500 animals. However, the various sub-populations are in contact with each other via narrow corridors. In the opinion of Dan Haydon from the University of Glasgow and head of the research group, a vaccination program should also start at these points in the future if there is a local outbreak of rabies. If infected animals are discovered as part of continuous monitoring of the population, all adjacent herds must be treated as soon as possible as a precautionary measure in order to prevent the disease from spreading further. Additionally, one could attempt to prime at least 10 to 40 percent of packs affected by the disease to contain an outbreak as well.
Due to the inaccessible terrain and the numerous domestic dogs - the main vectors - in the region, the scientists believe that it is utopian to permanently vaccinate the entire population. Using model calculations, Haydon and his colleagues conclude that the method they have proposed can effectively save wolves from extinction even if the disease outbreaks are significantly more frequent.
Because of their small overall numbers, limited range, and relatively close contact with humans and their pets, Ethiopian wolves are the rarest of canids and are among the world's most endangered species. A rabies outbreak in the early 1990s wiped out three quarters of the wolf population at the time, prompting a large-scale vaccination program beginning in 2003.