Thursday, 30 August 2018

Ethiopia deploys hidden rabies vaccine in bid to protect endangered wolf

Oral vaccination campaign will use goat meat baits to pre-empt outbreaks of rabies among Ethiopian wolves
Damian CarringtonEnvironment editor
Wed 22 Aug 2018 16.02 BSTLast modified on Wed 22 Aug 2018 17.03 BST

Rabies vaccines hidden inside goat meat baits have been deployed in the first campaign to protect the Ethiopian wolf, Africa’s most endangered carnivore.
There are less than 500 of the wolves in the high mountains of Ethiopia and they are very vulnerable to infectious diseases from domestic dogs. The oral vaccine approach will next be rolled out to cover all six surviving populations of the wolf.
“Thirty years ago I witnessed an outbreak of rabies which killed the majority of the wolves I had followed closely for my doctoral studies,” said Prof Claudio Sillero, director of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme(EWCP), a partnership between the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and the Born Free Foundation. “We now know that pre-emptive vaccination is necessary to save many wolves from a horrible death and to keep the small and isolated populations outside the vortex of extinction.”
Earlier trials showed the wolves preferred goat meat baits to rat meat or intestines and that delivery on horseback and at night into a pack’s territory meant fewer baits were eaten by other animals. Tests showed that almost 90% of the wolves eating the bait developed immunity.

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