WildShare Blog
20100309_111444
Red in the mist

At sun rise we get in the car and move towards the Sanetti plateau in the rain. Climbing up we cannot see more then 5 meters in front of us because of an heavy mist that makes all the sceneary very eerie.

The road is steep, the air cold, the plateau being above 3800 mtrs ASL but even with the reduced visibility we had our first sighting of Spot breasted lapwing and also Rouget’s rails were visible amongst erica bushes.
We patrol the only road of the plateau back and first completely focused on the milky surroundings in the attempt to see the wolves. For a couple of hours we cannot find anything but Tekla larks, Ruddy shelducks and Blue winged geese. The Giant Lobelias are a wonderful show themselves, emerging like lonely warriors in the heavy mist, some still growing, some in full blossom some beyond that, slowly descending towards death.

 

We take a side road bringing us to the highest point of the plateau, Tullu Deemtu. 4377 mtr above sea level, the air here is not only freezing but also really thin, not to the point of giving any real problem but still we could feel that breathing was different.

Out of the cruiser the wind took as with all its power, we felt so cold, freezing, our bones chilled to the marrow.
Back on the main road after helping a car that got stupidly stuck after going even more stupidly offroad, we went on patrolling and eventually we were rewarded.
Out of the white blanket of mist appears the red shape of our first Simien Wolf, one of the most endangered canid in the world, limited to some afroalpine pockets of Ethiopia, limited to less then 600 individuals.
Our “guide” suggested us to follow the wolf by foot, and so we did but with no success.
From this point onwards the mist slowly raised and the visibility greatly increased.
We started seeing wolves, we had at least ten sighting, s, wolves trying to hunt, jumping in the effort of smash mice and rats in their tunnels, pups playing, adults regurgitating food for them.
The wolves live in packs but hunt alone and then bring some food back to the pups, their main diet is made by mice and rats, they are visible everywhere in the plateau especially the endemic Giant mole rat, 1.5 kg of rat that mostly live underground.
We also spotted several Starck hares, another endemic specie that made the joy of my friend Daniele

On the way back we spotte a couple of Wattled cranes, they breed up here, they were actually chasing a wolf that came too close.

We soon learned that regardless of what the guide was saying that the best way to see the wolves is watching from the car, they are relaxed and do not run away as they do on foot.
The day was cold and rainy and misty but, ten minutes of sun were enough to show us unbelievable landscapes as a cherry on the cake.
Man, I would have never imagine such a great welcome in the plateau.

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