stomp my feet on the frozen grass, and tell myself again that this is Africa. Then, on a rocky outcrop some 20 feet away, a wolf appears. She throws back her head and yips—five quick, sharp calls that summon four other wolves, all males. They paw and stretch and lick each other's muzzles, tails wagging.
They are red, these wolves, with black-and-white tails, and white blazes on their chests. The fur on their throats is white too, and sweeps in a curve toward their eyes, giving them the look of laughing clowns. But it's the sassy hue of their coats that catches your eye. We're the top dogs here, their color proclaims. And they are. For these are Ethiopian wolves: the only species of wolf found in Africa.
Six pups come tumbling from beneath a rock, and their mother—the female that had called the pack together—greets them, letting them nurse for a moment. But mornings for the Ethiopian wolf are for patrolling, and the mother and her companions are ready to go. They leave the pups to the care of a younger female and set off at a brisk trot, loping over the icy grass and silvery Helichrysum shrubs in a classic wolf beeline.