Ethiopia’s wolves are one of the most endangered animals on the planet—even rarer than China’s giant panda. Travel writer Lizzie Pook crosses the remote Bale Mountains in hope of a glimpse.

“I had a wolf named after me once,” says my guide Ayuba as we clomp towards the Sanetti plateau, our horsemen clattering by, trailing pots and pans. “Every day, I’d come out here and look for him, to see how he was doing,” he says. “He’s dead now,” he concedes, with a gentle shake of the head.

We’re camping in Ethiopia’s remote Bale Mountains National Park. A wind-pitted place, home to soaring golden eagles, preying leopards, packs of spotted hyena and, in the nearby Harenna cloud forest, rare and magnificent black-maned jungle lions. The night is heavy and black. I can feel its darkness there, hovering outside the thin layer of canvas with a sort of malevolence.

All told, this is a wild part of the world. At night, we invariably set up our tents observed by curious troupes of baboon, or bed down under soaring vultures that drop the bones of their prey from great heights so that they can feast on the oozing marrow.

But it’s the wolves I’ve really come to see.