This month, when Kate was in Debark, she had the good fortune to bump into Mr Fekadu, who works with the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme
. He had just returned from the Simien Mountains National Park where he visited Ambaras School in the Belegez Valley, near Chennek, to educate the schoolchildren there about the endangered Ethiopian wolf.
Mr Fekadu very kindly gave Kate several educational films about the Ethiopian wolf for her to show the pupils at Empress Mentewab School.
Whereas the largest population (about 250 wolves) is in the Bale Mountains National Park, a smaller number exist in the Simien Mountains (100 wolves) and even fewer are scattered in other locations in the Ethiopian Highlands, the Ethiopian wolf's range being very restricted (at altitudes of 3,000 to 4,400 metres). The Ethiopian wolf generally preys on rats, which is why it needs alpine grasslands and heathlands where the vegetation is less than 25 centimetres high. The wolf is thought to be an evolutionary remnant of a past invasion of North Africa by Eurasian wolf-like ancestors some 100,000 years ago.
"It is very important that children in and around the Simien Mountains National Park understand the importance of protecting the Ethiopian wolf," says Kate, "and thanks to Fekadu, the children at Empress Mentewab School will, I hope, all grow up to be conservationists."
Photographs supplied by Fekadu.