Planet Ark -- An endangered species of red fox found only in Ethiopia may be wiped out unless it is protected from domestic animals bringing rabies into national parks, a senior wildlife expert said on Thursday.
Kumela Wakjira, senior expert in Ethiopia's Wildlife Conservation Department, said there are fewer than 500 red or simien foxes in the Horn of Africa country, most of them found in Bale Mountains National Park.
He said over the past two months five out of a population of 200 red foxes had died in the park, suspected of being infected with rabies from dogs accompanying livestock to the area.
"Unless the endangered species of red fox, endemic to Ethiopia, are protected, they could be wiped out due to disease which they contract from domestic animals such as dogs not vaccinated against rabies," Kumela said.
He said more needed to be done to make sure the parks were properly fenced off and that farmers did not bring their animals into them.
"Parks are intended to be tracts of land designated to stay in a natural state for the protection of wildlife where no domestic animals should be allowed to enter," he added.
Semien Fox in Bale National Park (Photo courtesy: EthioView)