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versão On-line ISSN 2007-3364


ATICKEM, Anagaw  e  STENSETH, Nils Chr.. The role of rodents in the conservation of endangered species in the Ethiopian highlands. Therya [online]. 2022, vol.13, n.1, pp.73-77.  Epub 08-Abr-2022. ISSN 2007-3364.

The Ethiopian highlands is the largest Afroalpine habitat on the African continent contributing 80 % of the land above 3,000 masl on the continent. The Ethiopian highlands are part of Conservation International’s Eastern Afro-Montane Biodiversity Hotspot supporting a large number of endemic mammal and bird species. In the highlands, rodent species are key for the survival of many species including the endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) and over 25 species of diurnal raptors. However, increasing agricultural activities and livestock grazing affect rodent density and distribution through degrading their habitat and disrupting their reproductive cycle. As human settlement expands into the Ethiopian wolf range, it also attracts the African wolf (Canis lupaster) towards the core area of the Ethiopian wolf. The African wolf was recently reported to affect the survival of the Ethiopian wolf though exploitative and interference competition. Along with all the anthropogenic effects, climate change may further threaten the rodent abundance of the Ethiopian highlands through altering the grassland vegetation cover, the main forage of the rodents. Polices and strategies for the conservation management of the Ethiopian highlands should consider rodents as keystone prey playing a critical role for the survival of a large number of wildlife species.

Palavras-chave : Afroalpine habitat; birds of prey; Ethiopian highlands; Ethiopian wolf; rodents.

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