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.
Acinonyx jubatus (Cheetah)
The cheetah has a wide range and is found from Africa south of the Sahara to India. It is considered the world's fastest mammal on land reaching speeds of up to 75 mph. Adults can reach up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 145 lbs. The tail can grow to be as long as 32 inches. It has a tawny brown coat with black spots, and black tear streaks across its cheeks, and its underparts are white. Unlike other cats, the cheetah prefers to chase down its prey rather than ambush them. They are also able to climb trees.
Cheetahs prefer savanna and arid, open grasslands with available bushland (to hide when stalking prey) for their habitat. They prey on all sorts of mammals including gazelles, impala, wildebeest, and antelopes, and smaller prey such as hares, ground birds, and warthogs. Females prefer a solitary life unless it is mating season, and males prefer to live in groups of two to four, called "coalitions." The female gives birth to one to eight cubs after a gestation period of 90 to 95 days. The cubs depend on the mother for about three months and are very vulnerable to predators like lions and hyenas.
The cheetah is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for their spotted pelt. They are also sometimes killed by farmers protecting their livestock. This species is protected by the law, and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums is dedicated to the research of breeding the species for preservation.
The African wild ass is more active in the cooler hours between late afternoon and early morning, looking for shade and
shelter around the hills during the day. The African wild ass can run at 50 kmph / 30 mph. Mature males defend large territories around 23 square kilometers in size, marking them with dung heaps - an essential marker in the flat, monotonous terrain. Due to the size of these ranges, the dominant male cannot exclude other males. Rather, intruders are tolerated - recognized and treated as subordinates, and kept as far away as possible from any of the resident females. In the presence of estrous females the males bray loudly. Despite being primarily adapted for living in an arid climate, African wild asses are dependent on water, and when not receiving the needed moisture from vegetation they must drink at least once every three days. However, they can survive on a surprisingly small amount of liquid, and have been known to drink salty.