NATIONAL PARKS

Awash National Park  |  Geraille National Park  |  Omo National Park  |  Yabello National Park  | Yangudi-Rasa National Park  | Abijata Shala Lake National Park  | Alatish National Park  |  Bale Mountains National Park  |  Chebera-Churchura National Park (CCNP)  |  Gambella National Park  | Kafta Sheraro National Park  | Mago National Park (MNP)  |  Maze National Park (MzNP)  |  Nech-Sar National Park  | Simien Mountain National Park  |  Babile Elephant Sanctuary  |  Senkelle Hartebeest Sanctuary

Awash National Park

Awash National Park, 211 Kms east of Addis Ababa cover 756 square kilometers). The park takes its name from the Awash River which marks the park’s southern boundary. The rivers last gesture is the salt lake, Lake Abbe, on the Ethiopia-Djiboutian border.

The park offers quite good wildlife and outstanding birdlife viewing. It also contains an interesting range of volcanic landscapes. The Beisa Oryx and Sommering Gazelles – in the open areas, Greater and Lesser Kudus – in the bushed areas, the endemic Swayne’s Hartbeest – in the grass plains, the tiny salt Dik-Dik – under the dry acacia bushes and Defarsa waterbuck – in the bushy river area and the two monkey species – the Anubis and Hamadryas – can be seen near the river. Among other monkeys, Colobus and Grivet monkeys are found in the riverside and drier areas respectively. Leopards, Lions, Black-Backed and Golden Jackals, Caracals, Servals and Wildcats are also seen in the park very rarely.

Until recently, 2003, 462 bird species have been recorded. Of these six are endemics namely Banded Barbet, Golden-Backed Woodpecker, White-Winged Cliff Chat, White-Tailed Starling, Thick-Billed Raven and Wattled Ibis. There are several bustard species in the park and secretary birds in the grass plains. The camping grounds, near the bank of the Awash River, and the Filwoha Hot Spring areas are the best sites to spot many species of birds such as Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove, Green Wood-Hoopoes, Red and Yellow Barbets, Carmine Bea Eaters are to name only a few.

One of the main features of the park area is the Fentale Volcano, on the southern flank of which can be seen the dark scar of the last lava flow of 1820. The other feature is the turquoise-blue pools of the natural hot springs in the extreme north of the park where you can spot Waterbucks and Hamadryas baboons and sometimes hear Lions at night.

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Geraille National Park

Gerale is a new park and it lies in Liben Zone in the Southwest part of the Somali National Regional State. In Liben Zone, it is located in the eastern part of Moyale Woreda. It is about 900 km southeast of Addis Ababa and 120 km northeast of Moyale. The park cover around 38,580 ha of the total 104,230 ha of area of the Dawa ecosystem. The area encompasses what used to be previously known as the Borana Controlled Hunting Area in Southern Ethiopia. The Park was proposed to conserve various savannah wildlife including rare animals like, Giraffe, African Elephant and even the Black Rhinoceros. Although local people claim to have seen the latter visits to the area have proved otherwise. Gerale has low human population density but is relatively rich in wildlife resources. Altitude ranges from 800 masl on the banks if the Dawa River to 1380 masl on top of the escarpments. The Dawa River forms important surface water feature for this arid site. The Dawa forms its boundary on the eastern and northeastern side while the Day escarpment is found on the west. The villages of Karaya, Sororo, Gelgelu are located to the south and south east of the park. The whole area is found within a semi-arizd zone and is characterized by prolonged dry season lasting up to seven months. A bimodal rain pattern is apparent with peaks from September to November and from April To June. The mean annual rainfall for Moyale is 503 mm. The area is typically Somali-Masai and the dominant vegetation type is Acacia-Commiphora. Major woody plants include Acacia mellifera, A. brevispica, A. oerfata and various Commiphora spp. Habitats include grasslands, wodded grasslands, open shrubland, thickets, riparian woodlands and exposed sand/soils. At least 36 species of larger mammals have been identified including bats. Major wildlife conserved includes Beisa Oryx, Grant’s Gazelle, Gerenuk, Lesser Kudu, and Guenther’s Dikdik, Avifauna is rich as well and a provisional list for the area has 164 recorded species.

Mostly the vegetation composition is made up of small trees and shrubs, which are 3-4 m in height. The dominant species include Acacia mellifera, Acacia oerfata, Acacia brevispica and several species of Comifora species. The area is also characterized by grassland, open shrub land, dense shrub land, dense bush land, wooded grassland and riparian woodland/bush land. The dominant grass species include Ischamum species and Chrysopogon species. The area is generally rich in floral diversity as in the case of other parts of the Somali-Massai biome-East African evergreen vegetation type.

The park has about 27 larger mammals, excluding rodents, bats and other smaller mammals. Some of the most common wild mammals includes Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa), Grant’s Gazelle (Gazella Granti), Gerenuk( Litocranius walleri), Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) and Güenther’s Dikdik ( Madoqua guentheri). Endangered and critically endangered species, that are present and believed to be present in the area and undoubtedly need sound management for their future survival includes African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), Rhinoceros (Diseros bicornis) and Giraffe (Girafa camelopardalis).The Geralle National Park is rich in avian diversity. A total of over 164 species, including the endemic bird White tailed swallow (Hirundo meganesis), were recorded within the park. The Wachile-Dawa area is also known to support globally near threatened species, the white winged Dove and the White tailed swallow.

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Omo National Park

Omo National Park is on the west bank of the Omo River in the lower Omo valley. The park is c.140 km long, stretching from the Neruze River in the south to the Sharum plain in the north, and up to 60 km wide where the Park Headquarters are situated. Major land features include the Omo River on the east, the Maji Mountains and the Sharum and Sai plains in the north and west, and the Lilibai plains and Dirga Hills to the south.

Omo National Park is on the west bank of the Omo River in the lower Omo valley. The park is c.140 km long, stretching from the Neruze River in the south to the Sharum plain in the north, and up to 60 km wide where the Park Headquarters are situated. Major land features include the Omo River on the east, the Maji Mountains and the Sharum and Sai plains in the north and west, and the Lilibai plains and Dirga Hills to the south.

There are three hot springs, and the park is crossed by a number of rivers, all of which drain into the Omo. The important Mui River crosses the middle of the park. Much of the park is at c.800m but the southern part by the Neruze river drops to 450 m. The highest peak in the Maji Mountains is 1,541 m. The edges of the Omo River, which borders the park along its length to the east, are covered by close stands of tall trees including Tamarindus indica, Ficus sycamorus and F. salicifolia, Kigelia aethiopium, Phoenix reclinata, Terminalia brownii, Acacia polyacantha and others. A well-developed shrub layer combined with woody and herbaceous climbers provides dense cover along the edge of the river which, however, is frequently broken by incoming streams and the activities of the local people and animals (particularly Hippo). Away from the river edge, dense stands of Euphorbia tirucalli abound, the canopies shading standing water long after the rains have abated. The park also embraces extensive open grasslands interspersed with stands of woodland species, and bush vegetation.

The park is home to the Surma, Mogudge and Dizi peoples, with the Bume(yanyatong) making much use of areas in the south and the Mursi crossing the Omo River from the east. These people are pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, but also cultivate a few crops on the river levees, and make extensive use of the river?s resources. They hunt wild animals for meat, skins and items to sell, in particular elephant tusks. The lower Omo valley as a whole, including Omo and Mago National Parks, is one of the least-developed in terms of modern-day investments.

The poor road network in the region is perhaps one reason why the area has stayed intact. This has assisted in delaying the destruction of the lifestyles of the people who live there as well as the balance of natural resources on which they depend. The track from Jinka in the east to the edge of the Omo River is only accessible in the dry season (August?February). Another track, from Maji to the Omo National Park on the west, is almost impassable and is mostly used only by Omo National Park vehicles and a few other adventurous visiting groups.
Omo National Park was established to conserve the area?s rich wildlife and develop the area for tourism. However, the potential of the Omo River (between the two parks) for recreation and tourism activities has not been fully realized. Since the mid-1970s, the National Parks Omo to the west and Mago to the east of the river?have not been able to attract many visitors, largely as a result of the communication barrier created by the Omo River and the very poor tourist facilities in the parks. This is now being remedied. As from 1993, the number of visitors coming to the lower Omo has been increasing: private tour companies bring tourists to the edge of the river in the dry seasons. The visitors come to enjoy the wildlife, to meet the Mursi and some of the other ethnic groups. Hunting camp along the high banks of the Omo, in Murle, now serves as a well-maintained safari Lodge.

The current bird list for the park is 312 species. The riverine forest along the Omo River is important for several different bird groups, including herons and egrets, kingfishers, barbets, chats and thrushes, woodpeckers, pigeons, shrikes, warblers and flycatchers. Halcyon malimbica is a recent discovery in these forests. Somali?Masai biome species include Laniarius ruficeps, Turdus tephronotus, Cisticola bodessa, Lonchura griseicapilla and Plocepasser donaldsoni. Phoeniculus damarensis, Turdoides tenebrosus and T. plebejus are also present. Palearctic species, especially waders, are fond of the hot springs at Illibai. In the dry grassland around these springs Cercopsis egregia has been recorded, one of the few places known for the species in southern Ethiopia. In addition, two species of the Sudan?Guinea Savanna biome have been recorded at this site.

Omo National Park is vitally important for the diverse and abundant wildlife, yet it does not have legal status. It was established in 1966 for wildlife protection and until the mid-1970s the park developed successfully. However, during the subsequent 20 years, both the infrastructure and staff morale deteriorated dramatically. The European Union has started a pilot development scheme in the region to enhance tourism potential and the capacity of park personnel.

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Yabello National Park

Yabello National Park lies 565 Km south of Addis Ababa on the Awasa-Moyale highway. It is 10km east of Yabello town in Borena Zone, Oromia Regional State. It was primarily set up to protect and conserve the Swayne’s Hartbeest Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynii, an endemic Hrtbeest. While the average elevation throughout is 1700 masl, it can range from 1400 to 2000 masl. Areas around Yabello recive an annual rainfall of around 700 mm. The main rainy season extends from April to May. Shorter and less reliable rains occur during October. Mean annual temperature is 190C with a mean minimum and maximum of 13 and 250C, respectively. High temperature are usually recorded from January to February. The dominant vegetation community is savannah with different woody and herbaceous plants. The major trees are Acacia drepanalobium, A.brevispica, and A. horida. Lower altitudes exhibit Balanties aegyptiaca and Commiphora-Terminalia Vegitation mixtures. Juniperus procera and Olea europea subsp cuspidate forests used to cover most of the hills in the past. Remnant forest trees can still be observes around the hills surrounding Yabello even today. The Borena pastoralists are the dominant tribe here and they still practice pastoralism in the rangelands of Borena. The park is important for a number of mammals as well as rare bird species. At least 210 species of birds have been recorded of which 62 are Somali-Masai Biome species. Mammal species include Swayne’s Hartebeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Grant ’s gazelle and Guenther’s Dik-Dik.

The park affords protection to the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest and is the home of the endemic and vulnerable Ethiopian Bush Crow and White-tailed Swallow are also restricted-range species. Other non-endemic but globally threatened species includes the Taita Falcon. With 62 Somali-Masai Biome birds, the site affords protection to 64% of Ethiopia’s Somali-Masai Biome assemblage. Other interesting birds found here include Ostrich, Short-tailed Larck, Pringle’s puff-back, Northern Grey Tit, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Vulturine Guinea Fowl, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped social Weaver, Donaldson-Smith Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Grey-headed Social Weaver and Magpie Starling. The site is good for Burchell’s Zebra and smaller numbers of Grant’s Gazelle and Gerenuk.

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Yangudi-Rasa National Park

Yangudi-Rassa National Park is in the centre of the Afar Region (in the northern section of the Rift Valley) between the towns of Gewani and Mille, and 500 km from Addis Ababa. Yangudi Mountain lies on its south-eastern boundary, and is surrounded by the Rassa plains. Habitats include Riverine forests along the Awash River, marshes and small lakes, dry riverbeds, rocky hills, sandy semi-desert and wooded grasslands.

Yangudi-Rassa National Park is in the centre of the Afar Region (in the northern section of the Rift Valley) between the towns of Gewani and Mille, and 500 km from Addis Ababa. Yangudi Mountain lies on its south-eastern boundary, and is surrounded by the Rassa plains. Habitats include Riverine forests along the Awash River, marshes and small lakes, dry riverbeds, rocky hills, sandy semi-desert and wooded grasslands.

The sandy semi-desert and wooded grassland make up the largest portion of the park. The two main ethnic groups inhabiting this area are the Afars and the Issas. Ethnic feuds have been frequent between them, but most of the park happens to be in an area where they avoid each other.

More than 230 bird species have been recorded in this area. Being situated on an important migration flyway, many migratory species have been found including Falco naumanni and Circus macrourus, both of which are recorded regularly on migration and during the winter. Other species of interest include Phoenicopterus minor, Petronia brachydactyla and Ardeotis arabs (more common here than A. kori).

The park was proposed in 1977 specifically to protect wild Ass. Besides the wildlife, the park is also important for safeguarding a 50-km strip of rich archaeological remains along the eroded hills near the Awash river. Active management of the park?s resources is minimal, with protection arising primarily as a result of the extremely harsh environment and its position as a no-man?s land between rival pastoralists/ethnic groups. The military has previously killed large numbers of herbivores within the park.

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Abijata Shala Lake National Park

The park is 887 sq. km wide; 482sq km of this is covered by the lakes’ water. The altitude ranges from 1500 to 2000 meters. The highest peak is Mt fike, situated between the two lakes. The lakes are terminal, but they are very different in nature. The park was created for many species of aquatic birds, particularly great white pelicans and greater and lesser flamingoes. Lake’s islands are used as breeding sites by many birds including pelicans; and lake abijata is their feeding sanctuary. Other birds in the area include white necked cormorant, African fish eagle, Egyptian geeze, various plover species and herons.

The National Park is a combination of Lakes Abijatta and Shalla, and the land between and around them, in East Shewa Zone. The park is 56 km south-west of Lake Ziway and to the west of the main Mojo-Moyale road. Both lakes are without outlets, and the water is alkaline. Lake Abijatta is very shallow (up to 14 m), while Lake Shalla, in the crater of an extinct volcano, is very deep (up to 266 m). Three rivers, the Gogessa, Bulbula and Hora Kelo, feed Lake Abijatta. The lake had an area of 19,600 ha, a shoreline of 60 km and was full of fish, but by 1995, it had shrunk dramatically and no fish-eating birds were seen. Water is being removed from the lake to feed a soda-ash extraction plant, and from the Bulbula river for irrigation. Fish and aquatic plants now regularly occur only around the mouth of the Bulbula and Hora Kelo rivers. The shoreline is gently sloping. The nearby Acacia woodland used to have a more or less continuous (25-m-high) canopy, but most of the trees have been felled and turned into charcoal or sold as fuelwood. Lake Shalla is south of Lake Abijatta and divided from it by a narrow strip of higher land, part of the old crater rim. Two rivers feed the lake. It has an area of c.33,000 ha and a shoreline of 118 km. It has several hot, somewhat sulphurous springs around the shore, and nine islands of which at least four are important breeding sites for birds. Bulrushes grow where the hot springs and rivers enter the lake, but most of the shore comprises steep cliffs, thus there is little place for wading birds and there are no fish. The vegetation to the east and south of the lake is Acacia-Euphorbia savanna, the most common trees being the woodland Acacia spp. (A. etbaica and A. tortilis) and Euphorbia abyssinica, and bushes of Maytenus senegalensis. The woodland around the lakes is important in keeping the highly fragile soil structure intact. In undisturbed/ungrazed areas there is a rich grass and herb flora.

Over 400 species have been recorded from the park. The park is at one of the narrowest parts of the Great Rift Valley, a major flyway for both Palearctic and African migrants, particularly raptors, flamingos and other waterbirds. Among the globally threatened species known from the park are: Aquila heliaca (a rare passage migrant); Falco naumanni (an uncommon passage migrant with a few wintering); Circus macrourus (fairly common passage migrant, with a few wintering); and Acrocephalus griseldis (status unknown). Glareola nordmanni has also been recorded. Fish-eating birds have mostly abandoned the park since the fish in Lake Abijatta died out. However, huge numbers of many wetland species remain, such as Phoenicopterus ruber, P. minor (the numbers of which fluctuate), Anas clypeata and Charadrius pecuarius. The fringes of Lake Abijatta form an important feeding and resting ground for waders and ducks, particularly Anas clypeata, Recurvirostra avosetta, Calidris minuta and Philomachus pugnax. Smaller insectivores, such as Motacilla flava and Hirundo rustica, have also been recorded in massive numbers. The islands of Lake Shalla used to be important breeding sites for cormorants, storks and pelicans, and colonies of Phalacrocorax carbo and small numbers of Pelecanus onocrotalus still occur. One endemic, Poicephalus flavifrons, and five Afrotropical Highlands biome species have also been recorded. Among the unusual visitors to Lake Abijatta are Calidris alpina, C. melanotos, Charadrius mongolus, C. alexandrinus, Pluvialis fulva, P. squatorola, Phalaropus lobatus, Glareola nordmanni, Grus carunculatus (five in 1991-1992), Netta erythropthalma, Larus ichthyaetus and L. cachinnans

Major wildlife species conserved: greate white pelican, Lesser filamigo, white –necked Cormorant , Grant’s Gazelle
Other animals species : Greater Kudu, Warthog, anubis baboon, Grivet , Gureza, Oribi , klipspringer, Jacal
Number mammal species recorded : 31, endemic: 0
Number birds species recorded : 299, endemic : 6

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Alatish National Park

Alatish National park 
Alatish national Park was established in 2006 G.C.It is 2665 square kilometers wide & 970 kms north of Addis Ababa.

Park Location and Features 
Alatish National Park is located between 11047’5.4” to 12031’3.6”N latitude and 35015’48” to 35048’51”E longitude in north western flat plain part of Ethiopia. The general topography of park is flat to undulating plain with general slop inclination from south to north interrupted by valleys, streams, scattered hills and seasonal wetland.

Flora

In general the vegetation of the park area is classified into five types. These are:-

1. Mixed woodland vegetation where Combretum and Terminalia species are abundant

2. Riverine vegetation which is dominated with Acacia, Ficus, Terminalia species and other herbs

3. Seasonal wetland vegetation which is dominated with different types of herbs such as Hygrophila auriculata with scattered trees such as Acacia and Terminlaia and Balalnite aegyptica trees

4. Open wooded grassland vegetation which is characterized by scattered trees of mainly Annogiossus leocarpa and Combretum species and dense grass ground cover

5. Hilly area wood land vegetation which are rich with diverse woody species types such as Ficus trees and lower canopy species like Oxythenanthera abyssinica

Based on the characteristics of Ethiopian vegetation classification, vegetation in Alatish National Park is categorized largely under woodland vegetation ecosystem. The overall park area is dominated by Combretum spp., Terminalia spp., Oxythenantera abyssinica, Anogeissus leocarpa, Pterocarpus lucens, Dalbergia melanoxylon, Balanites aegyptica, Acacia seyal, Dacrostachys cinera, Ficus spp, Entada Africana and other woody species.
The woodland vegetation type of Alatish National Park is mainly deciduous tree species. However, partly, the vegetation of the park is also characterized by open grasslands and thorny plant species that could be categorized in the Acacia-Commiphora ecosystem.

Fauna

Alatish National Park is rich in zoological resources and it is home to various types of wild animals. 37 mammalian species of which 8 are not recently (last 15 years) seen, 204 birds species, 23 rodent species, 6 species of insectivores and 7 types of reptiles and amphibians are found in the park.
Alatish National Park has a variety of fauna which require conservation. It is specially rich in reptile diversity such as African rock python, monitor lizard, Egyptian cobra, black mamba and blandings tree snake. It also harbours endangered and rare species like Elephant (Loxodonata Africana), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Lion (Panthera leo) and also low risk but conservation dependent Lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) and Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsicero). Permanent but intermittent rivers bordering the park like Aayima and Gelegu provide huge amount of fish resources to the local communities besides being the main water sources of people and animals.

Key species:
Elephant, Lesser kudu & Greater Kudu

Lesser kudu
The Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) is a forest antelope found in East Africa and (possibly) the southern Arabian Peninsula. The Southern Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis australis) is a subspecies found in Kenya and Tanzania.
Lesser Kudu stand about a metre at the shoulder and weigh 155 to 205 kilograms, males are larger than females. Lesser Kudu males are grey-brown while females are chestnut the coat is lighter on their underside. Both have about ten white stripes on their backs and two white tufts on the underside of their necks. Males have a small mane and horns of about 70 centimetres with one twist.
Lesser Kudu live in dry thorn bush and forest and eat mainly leaves. Lesser Kudu are nocturnal and matinine crepuscular. They live in groups of two to five ranging up to twenty-four on rare occasions these have about equal numbers of males and females.

Tourist Attractions

In terms of tourism potential, the park has a capacity to tourism development with the numerous tourist attractions. As a natural attraction Alatish National Park has various plants, and animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. In its spectacular landscape, the park is more or less flat train with very few scattered beautiful conical peaks. The landscape is dominated by dry woodland savanna and the riverine forest can also be potential tourist attractions.

As a historical attraction, one big Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) housed the former Emperor Haileselassie for seven days inside its stem on his return to Ethiopia after victory over the colonialist Fascist Italia in 1941. Moreover, Emperor Tewodros, which was one of the most magnificent Ethiopian leaders, was born in Quara about 25 km from Gelegu, headquarters of Alatish National Park in 1818.

Alatish National Park has also cultural attractions which can be expressed in music, dance and drams performing groups, cultural festivals, sale of visual arts and crafts (basketry & pottery) and life styles practiced by many diverse ethnic groups (Gumuz, Agew, Amhara) living around the park.

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Bale Mountains National Park

The Bale Mountains, The Bale Mountains National Park is located 400 km southeast of Addis Ababa in Oromia National Regional State in south-eastern Ethiopia. It was established in 1970, this park covers about 2,200 square kilometers of the Bale Mountains to the west and southwest of Goba in the Bale Zone It belongs to the Bale-Arsi massif, which forms the western section of the south – eastern Ethiopian highlands. And it is the largest area of Afro-alpine habitat in the whole of the continent.It is a home for various flora and fauna species. The park which comprises reverie plains, woodlands and bush land, is a home for several endemic species like Mountain Nyala and Semien Fox, where the park is believed to be established to protect these two animals.

Bale-Park National Park is home to high mountains, The local boundary of the BMNP lies within five woredas: Adaba (west), Dinsho (north), Goba (northeast), Mana-Angetu (south) and Berbere (east). The park area is encompassed within geographical coordinates of 6º29′ – 7º10′N and 39º28′ – 39º57′E and covers the largest area above 3000 m asl. in Africa. Tullu Dimtuu, altitude 4377m a.s.l., is the highest peak in the park and the second highest peak in Ethiopia. The park includes a major Afro alpine plateau over 3500 m a.s.l. as well the slopes to the south that include low land tropical moist forest down to 1500 m as.l,. The mountains are the highest part of Bale region and the park lies in the north west corner of the region. The rest of the Bale region falls off quickly in altitude to the hot, dry low lands bordering Somalia to the south –east and south (BMNPGMP,2007).

The forest is also a home for different pig species, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, African hunting dogs and many others. More over the Bale Mountains are home for 16 endemic bird species.

The park is among the most suitable walking areas in the country with a chance to see several endemic and common species at a closer distance

Fauna

The BMNP encompasses a broad range of habitats between 1,500 and 4,377 m altitude. These provide a large number of niches for animals, and as a result there is great variety in the fauna. Much of the original stimulus for making a National Park in the Bale Mountains was the plights of the endemic Mountain Nyala and the Ethiopian wolf. There are, in fact, at least 46 mammal species, and 160 bird species, in addition to the numbers of species from other animal orders-reptiles, amphibians etc., that all have a part in the complex ecosystems that have evolved in this unusual area.

A large proportion of the Bale Mountains fauna is endemic- found nowhere else in the world, and in some cases nowhere else in Ethiopia. The variety of species and high rate of endemicity is due to the wide variety of habitats conserved in BMNP and to the isolation of the highland areas of Ethiopia from other similar highlands in Eastern Africa, by the surrounding hot dry lands. Ethiopia as a whole has a large number of endemic species. Yalden (1983) calculated that almost 80% of the land in Africa over 3,000 m altitude occurs in Ethiopia, and speculated that the high rate of endemicity was a result of this very large area of highland.

It is certain that the numbers of endemic species in the invertebrates, and in the flora, will also prove to be very high in Bale. Information from a number of sources, but mainly from the works of Largen and Yalden, underlines the importance of the Bale Mountains as a center of endemicity, and reserve of unknown genetic resources, (Hillman,1986).

Flora

The three main sub-sections of the park Northern Gaysay area, Central peaks and Sannetti plateau area and Southern Harenna area are demarcated by altitude, and this also controls vegetation zonation. Thus the central peaks and plateau area consists of Afroalpine vegetation; the northern Gaysay area of grassland, swamp and woodlands; and the southern Harenna area of dense forest.

1. Northern grasslands


This very small, but very important zone comprises the flat land each side of the Gaysay River, and on the west bank of the Web River. The area occurs in the extreme north of the park, between Gaysay Mountain and the Adelay Ridge.

These grasslands lie on almost flat land, whose drainage is poor, and inundation is frequent in the west season. Many places are, therefore, dominated by swamp grasses and sedges, especially of the Cyperus and Sciripus genera. Relatively higher parts are covered with low bush vegetation, dominated by Artemesia afra and Helichrysum splendium. Common grasses of these areas include those of the genera Andropogon, Bromus, Festuca and Poa.

The bush species Helichrysum splendium has been almost totally eradicated outside the park boundaries by domestic sheep and goats. Protection by the park fences has allowed it to re-grow in the park, to a point where it appears to be taking over from the Artemesia. Both species are important food plants for Mountain Nyala, and shelter for several species.

2. Northern Woodlands

This vegetation zone occupies a narrow belt in the northern west, north and north east of the park. The upper limit is the tree line at 3,400 m, and the lower is the grasslands in flat valley bottoms at around 3,000 m. The term “woodland” has been used here, as opposed to forest, since tree cover is sparse with an incomplete canopy, a high inter-tree distance and only a single canopy layer for the most part. Ground cover by herbs and grasses is good. This vegetation zone is found on slopes that are relatively steep (20 – 30º), and has, in many places, been affected by man’s activities.

The species that dominate the northern woodlands are the trees Juniperus procera and Hagenia abyssinica. Most Junipers are relatively small (15-20 m tall) since the area is the upper limit to the species growth, and few are found near the upper tree line.

The species Hypericum revolutum, produces a dense bush growth at the lower edge of the woodlands, while at the upper tree line the species grows as a tall, slender tree to at least 5 m.

Extensive grass area occurs within the woodland especially on the steepest slopes. These contain similar species to the flat areas below, with the exception of the sedges. Some such areas have been artificially induced on high, flat ridges that were used for settlement in the past.

3. Heather moorlands

Various heather species dominate the areas immediately above the tree line, from 3,400 to about 3,800 m altitude. Heathers in the genera Erica and Philipia cover all but the inundated valley bottoms. These plants will grow to over 5 m in height, but only exhibit this in a few places in the mountains. This vegetation is repeatedly burnt by local people, mainly to make the area more accessible and generate plants of a height that can be browsed by livestock. As a result the plants are rarely more than 1.5 m in height, and often much less.

Mature heather stands exhibit a good grass and herb layer beneath the canopy. Frequently burnt areas have a poor ground cover, of low species diversity.

4. Afro alpine moorlands

This broad term covers a great range of microhabitats, controlled by a variety of soils, drainage, exposure and aspect in the high mountain area. Plant species diversity is low, and vegetation cover varies from 100% at the lower end of the altitude range and in sheltered areas, to less than 10% at the highest and exposed altitudes. Steep, rocky slopes and cliffs support very little vegetation growth. The higher in altitude a plant species is found, the smaller the growth form is likely to be as a protection against wind and frost. An additional factor that a major effect on vegetation at these altitudes, is the very high density of rodents, particularly the Giant Molerat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus). The soil is constantly turned over and the plants cropped by the activities of these animals, such that many places on the Sanetti Plateau look as though they have been ploughed.

There are many flat areas on the plateau which become quickly inundated in the wet season, or remain wet year round. These swampy areas are dominated by the sedge Carex monostachya.

A distinctive feature of the vegetation of these altitudes is the giant plant Lobelia rynchopetalum. This species is found from 3,100 to 4,377 m, but the largest forms are found at the highest altitudes. The plant itself is unbranched, but reaches a height of 2-3 m before flowering, then sends up a tall flower spike to a total of 6 m or more. The dead flower spikes last for several years and are a characteristic sight of many parts of the central plateau and peak area.

5. Harenna Forest

The Harenna Forest covers almost half of the park in area, at the southern park boundary and is a magnificent example of moist tropical forest, about which very little is known. It extends over a wide range of altitude, from 1,500 to 3,500 m, bridging the gap between Combretum/Terminalia dry, wooded grasslands and Afro alpine moor lands in just 60 km, probably the only place in Africa where this still occurs.

The upper part of this forest area is on steep slopes and differs little from the northern woodlands. A notable absence is Juniperus. The tree cover is very high and dense stands of Mountain Bamboo (Arundinaria alpine) cover large areas.
Below about 2,200 m, the slope is much gentler, and larger tree species appear, Podocarpus gracilior in particular. Trees over 30 m in height are common, there is good shrub undergrowth, a secondary canopy, lianes and dense epiphytic growths on all larger trees.

The steeper slopes of the forest on the Harenna Escarpment are swathed in mist for much of the year, often all day. There are no rainfall records for the area, but it is evident from the many small streams, dense epiphytes, and the dense forest and undergrowth, that this area receives, retains, and slowly releases, much water (Hillman, 1986).

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Chebera-Churchura National Park (CCNP)

Location

CCNP is found within the western side of the central Omo Gibe basin, in between Dawro zone and Konta Special Woreda of the SNNPRS, Ethiopia. The park is located about 330 & 460 km southwest of Hawassa & Addis Ababa, respectively. It covers an area of 1215 km2 that ranges in altitude form 700 to 2450 m.a.s.l.

Drainage

The Park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers and streams and four small creator lakes (Keriballa, Shasho, Koka) which are reason for the rich wildlife resources of the area. Zigina River is rises from the north east highlands of the area and cross the central part of the park(north to south) and feeds the Omo River ( there are also different perennial rivers feeding Omo River crossing the park). Shoshuma River is rises from the northwestern highlands of the Konta area highlands cross the northeastern part of the park and mixed with Zigina River in side the park, which go down together to Omo River.

Topography

The prominent topographic features is unique & highly attractive and characterized by unique and highly heterogeneous and hilly terrain, few flat lands and highly undulating to rolling plains with incised river and perennial streams, valley and gorges.

Access

Access to arrive Chebera-Churchura National park is not a problem. One can reach to the park following either the Addis-Jima-Ameya road or Addis-Shashemene-Sodo-Waka-Tocha. The internal park road is under study however there is some 80 km rough dry weather road crossing the western sides of the park and show the entire park view or it is also possible to trek in side the park following foot paths avilable in the park but with help of local Guide.

Wildlife

So far, 37 larger mammals and 237 species of birds have been recorded in the different habitats (Highland & Rverine forest and savanna and bush lands) of the park. White-cliff chat, banded-barbet, wattled ibis, black-headed forest Oriole and thick billed Raven are endemic birds for the country.
Common mammals include the African elephant, hippopotamus, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. Currently, CCNP appears to be the least disturbed and reliable ecosystem for the African elephant and Buffalo in the country.

Scenic value

This park is one of the relatively untouched, recently discovered and rich wilderness areas but the list visited and known park in the country. The park comprises unique and attractive mountain closed forest, closed tall-grassed savannah habitat, thick woodland forest. The landscape very fascinating highly rugged, undulating to rolling plains there a number of hilly & mountainous land which the whole year covered by vegetations. A number of cold & hot springs, historical caves, the Meka Forest (which is always with African Elephants). The park is the best site to see the African Elephants, and Buffalo.

The Park & surrounding area also has different natural and cultural attractions such as different hot and cold springs, lakes and caves.

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Gambella National Park

Location
07030’-08015’N/33045’- 34015’ E

Description

Gambella National park is located 850 km west of Addis Ababa. It was established as a protected area in 1973 to conserve a diverse assemblage of wildlife and unique habitats. The park area is home to the Nuer and the Anuak people. Both sexes of the Nuer favor cicatrisation, an adornment causing bumps in various patterns on their bodies. Originally the park was created for protection of extensive swamp habitat and ts wildlife. Located on the Akobo river system it hosts several wildlife not found elsewhere in Ethiopia. These include the nile lechwe and white-eared kob. The banks of the baro are rich in birdlife and thus give visitors an extra advantage. With its total area of approximately 50,600 ha, if it is the largest protected area in the country. Its northern boundary is formed by the Baro River. To the south of the park, the Gilo River flows from Gog to Tor in a northwesterly direction. The landscape of Gambella is low and flat with altitude ranging from 400 to 768 masl. The average altitude is around 500 masl. The park is located in the centre of Gambella Regional state between the rivers of Baro and Gilo, Abobo is 82 km south of Gambella town on the river Baro Agro-climatically, it is classified as Kolla and the climate is hot and humid High temperatures are recorded just before the onset of rains in May. Annual mean temperature is with a minimum and maximum of 20.4 and 34.8 0 C, respectively. Annual rainfall is estimated to around 1400 mm in the plains. The west season extends from May to October while the dry persists from November to April. Gambella is a vast collection of savannahs, flood plains, reverine forests,lazily flowing rivers and grasslands. The general landscape is flat but it has area of raised ground that supports deciduous woodlands and grasslands. Extensive areas covered by grasslands are inundated by water forming valuable seasonal wetlands in the rainy season. There are however extensive areas of permanently inundated wetlands especially near rivers. Grasses have lush growth and there are species which can reach 2-3 meters in height. Other important habitats include the river edges and their cut-off lakes. Gambella teems with a wide variety of wildlife and 41 larger mammals have been recorded here. The most common are Buffalo, Giraffe,Taing (Topi), Waterbuck, Roan Antelope, White-eared Kob, Nile Lechwe, Burchell’s Zebra, Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Warthog and Elephant. The rivers host healthy populations of Hippopotamus and Nile Crocodiles. The park has at least 300 bird species of which 11 are Sudan-Guinea Biome species. Nile perch weighing up to 100 kg have been caught from the Baro River. Besides these an unknown number of fish, amphibian and reptile species are expected from this region.

Unique features

Gambella has a diverse set of Wildlife,Which the country shares with neighboring countries. Vast collections of plain games are observed and could arguably be one of the best wildlife areas of the country. Major wildlife conserved includes white-eared Kob, Nile Lechwe, Roan Antelope, Topi and Elephant. The near threatened Shoebill and Basra Reed Warbler have been recorded from here back in the 1960s. The area holds 11 Sudan-Guinea Biome species holding 69% of Ethiopia’s total assemblage for this category.
The park area is home to the Nuer and the Anuak people. Both sexes of the Nuer favor cicatrisation, an adornment causing bumps in various patterns on their bodies. It is about 5060 sq.km in area. Originally the park was created for protection of extensive swamp habitat and ts wildlife. Located on the Akobo river system it hosts several wildlife not found elsewhere in Ethiopia. These include the nile lechwe and white-eared kob. The banks of the baro are rich in birdlife and thus give visitors an extra advantage.

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Kafta Sheraro National Park

Location
13045’-14015’N/37015’-38045’E

Kafta-Shiraro is located in western Tigray, With its 500,000 ha area, it is expected to be one of the largest conservation areas in Ethiopia. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Shiraro in the east, Wolkaite in the south and Humera in the west. Within Tigray it is positioned in the woredas of Kafta-Humera and Tahtay-Adiabo. While the main river is the Tackazee, it is fed by a number of riverst that orginate in the Simen Mountains and highlands of Wolkait. Elevation ranges from 550 masl on the edge of Tackaze River 1800 masl on the highlands of Kafta. The agro-climatic zone is identified as Qolla with an inclination to semi-arid. Vegetation communities within the reserve include Acacia-Commiphora,combretum-Terminalia, dry evergreen montane woodlands and riparian types. The site has a mono-modal pattern of rain with high peaks in May and early September. Preliminary records show that the site conserves 42 mammalian and 95 avian species. Major wildlife conserved include Ostrich, Aardvark, Elephant, Greater kudu, Roan Antelope, Red-fronted Gazelle, Caracal, Leopard and Lion.

Unique features

The reserve is important for the conservation of Elephants. It is one of nine sites in Ethiopia that conserve Elephants. The Elephant population in Kafta migrates seasonally between Ethiopia and Eritrea. At present the site is known to hold an estimated 100-150 individual Elephants. Besides Elephants, it conserves 42 mammals 167 birds and 9 reptile species. The site is extremely important and could well be the only site in the country for wintering Demoiselle Crane. A recent discovery shows that the northwestern border of the park holds more than 20,000 Demoiselle Cranes.

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Mago National Park (MNP)

The mago national park

Location

It lies on the eastern sides of a small branch of the eastern Rift Valley (Omo depression), in the South Omo Zone of SNNPRS and located about 530 and 800 km southwest of Hawassa andAddis Ababa, respectively.

Drainage

The Park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers and streams, which are by far reasons for the rich wildlife resources of the area. Mago River rises from the northeast highlands of the area and cross the park (north to south) and feeds the Omo River (there are also different perennial rivers like Neri River and other streams, which are tributaries for Mago River in the park. Omo, Mago, and Neri rivers are typical features for the Mago National Park.

Wildlife

the Park supports a typical bush savanna fauna with 81 larger mammals & 237 species of bird. Among mammals: African elephant, buffalo, lesser-kudu, greater-kudu, duiker, warthog, tiang, lewel’s hartebeests, Oryx, grant’s gazelle, gerenuk, giraffe, cheetah, wild dog, lions, leopards, gureza, common baboon and verevt monkey are common & conspicuous.

Access

The Park is 800km and 500 km from to the south of Addis Ababa and Hawassa, respectively. The road from Jinka town to the park covers a distance of 34km all weather gravel road. The park has about 200km internal roads, which lead to the different attractions sites of the park.

Scenic Value

many national & foreign tourists in the Mago National Park commonly visit the following attractions. These includes the Hot Springs, Forest and savanna habitats, the topography (Murssi mountains and the different view points (Vantages over looking the park whole view) along the high way of Jinka-Murssi.

Surrounding Community

MNP area is also very well-known for its rich cultural diversity, where many elements of the earliest nomadic lifestyles are still continued. Hammer, Benna, Mursi, Ngagatom, Ari, Karo, Body, Kwegu are communities very well known for their traditional culture, lifestyles, colorful body decoration, ceremonies, festivals, rituals, and other living expressions.

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Maze National Park (MzNP)

Mazie national park was established in 2005 G.C.It is 210 square kilometers wide & it is 490 kilometers away from Addis Ababa.

Location

MzNP is one of the wildlife conservation areas known for its good population of the critically endangered endemic Swayne’s Hartebeests population and located 460km and 235 south west of Addis Ababa and Hawassa, respectively, in Gamo-Gofa Zone.

Drainage

The Park is fortunate in possessing a number of rivers and streams which ultimately drains to Omo River. The name of the park derived after the largest river that crosses the park called Maze River.

Wildlife

The Park is covered by savannah grassland with scattered deciduous broad leave trees as well as Riverbasine association along the main watercourses. The Wild animal of the MzNPsupports a wide range of savannah species. So far 39 larger and medium sized mammals and 196 birds’ species have been recorded. It is one of the three sites in the world where good population of the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest’s population still survive. Besides, orbi, Bohor red buck, buffalo, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, greater kudu, lesser kudu, bush pig, Anubus baboon, vervet monkey, lion, leopard, wild cats, serval cat are among others common species.

Access

The road from Sodo to the park is all-weather gravel road covering a distance of 83km. It is also possible to use the road from Jinka to Betomela form the other sides of the park.

Scenic value

The landscape of MzNP is surrounded by interesting high rugged mountain ranges, escarpment and small hills. The landscape is breathtaking and important for sustainable eco-tourism development. The MzNP and the surrounding area have different natural, cultural and historical attractions such as Bilbo Hot Springs, Wenja Stone Cave, “Kaouwa Wella”(Yeniguse Warka),
Bilbo/Halo Hot Spring: is situated at the upper parts of Maze River in the park It is a form of geyser, which shoot up hot water from deep in side the ground. The smoke released from this hot spring, cover wide area and seen from a distance. People from far areas and local people used it as traditional medicine.
Wenja Stone Cave: Natural rock cave that can hold up to 300 people. According to legends, in the past, the site was used to punish criminal/ unlawful member of the community.
Religious Site in Chosho Market: There are two oldest big trees in Chosho Market. These trees are believed as justice giving (court) by the locals residence for any disagreement that may arise among them. The site is locally called “Kaouwo welloa” meaning the king’s tree.

Key Species

Swaynes hartebeest,Oribi

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Nech-Sar National Park

Location 06000’N/37045’E

Description

Nechsar is an IUCN category II National Park that was established in 1974 with the aim of conserving the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest and preserving its scenic beauty. It is situated 510 km south of Addis Ababa near the town of Arba Minch. It is bounded by the Amaro Mountains in the east, north by Lake Abaya, and south by Lake Chamo. This conservation area is found in Amaro-Kelo woreda. Arba Minch, the administrative town of North Omo Zone is found to the west of the park. Elevation ranges from 1108 to 1650 masl. Two major rivers, Sermale and Kulfo traverse the park. The major features of this protected Area are Abaya and Chamo lakes. Annual rainfall for Arbaminch area is 800 mm with most rain falling from April to May. Smaller rains are expected in September and October. Mean annual temperature is around 210C and a maximum going as high as 300C with an estimated area of 51400 ha, Nechsar’s landscape includes extensive grasslands, savannah, mountains and hills. Nechsar has a variety of habitats ranging from savannah, dry bush and ground water forests. Bushland dominates most of the area and major species include Combretumspp., Dichrostachys cinerea., Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptica and few Acacia nilotica. Smaller trees and shrubs include Cadada farinose, Maytenus senegalensis, Rhus natalensis, Terminalia brownii, Ximenia caffra and Ziziphus spp. The wide and undulating plains of Nechisar support different kinds of grasses that in turn grow on black cotton soil. Major grass species on the plains include Chrysopogn aucheri with patches of Chloris roxburghiana. Cenchrus ciliaris and Iscaemum afrum. Waterlogged spots support patches of Lintonia nutans. The Kulfo ground water forest located on Kulfo River is dominated by Ficus Sycamorus, Garcinia living stonea, Cordia African, Diospyros spp. Veprise dainellii. Teclea nobilis and Trichilia emetica. Other species found near the edges of rivers include Kigelia pinnata, Terminalia brownie and Tamarindus indica. These habitats are home to at least 200 species of birds. To date, 37 species of mammals have been recorded including the Swayne’s Hartbeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Guenther’s Dik Dik Greater Kudu, and Hunting Dog. Hippopotamus, Grey Duicker, Common Bushbuck and Crocodile. The lakes support stocks of Nile perch and cat Fish.

Unique features

Nechsar is named after the creamy white grass that covers the park in the central plains area. Hot springs found in the eastern part of the park and the “crocodile market” located on the northwestern shores of lakes Chamo are an added attraction. The Nechsar Nightjar Caprimulgus Solala, is a species identified from the Nechsar plains. This bird species was described solely using a single wing from a road kill in the park in 1995. Other birds of global importance include the Lesser Kestrel, Lesser Flamingo (in small numbers) and the Pallid Harrier. Nechsar also affords protection to 25 Somali –Masi Biome birds thus providing home to 26% of Ethiopia’s Somali-fronted Black Chat was recorded from. The ground water forest supported by a high water table in the park is one of its kinds in Eastern Africa.

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Simien Mountain National Park

The Park was one of the first four sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Massive erosion of the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world: jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and precipices sheer for 1,500 metres. The Park is the refuge of the extremely rare Ethiopian wolf, gelada baboon and Walia ibex,a goat unique to Ethiopia. After the site’s management was transferred from Addis Abeba to the Amhara region in 1997, a committee for the Park’s rehabilitation was set up, the budget and staff increased, there was local participation in decisions, resettlement of farmers, excision of villages and extension of the Park.

Threats to the Site: The World Heritage Committee placed the Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996 because of decline in the population of the Walia ibex due to human settlement, grazing, agriculture and road construction. The ibex may now number over 500 and be on the increase but the Ethiopian wolf remains extremely rare.

COUNTRY Ethiopia
 NAME Simien Mountains National Park 
NATURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN DANGER
1978: Inscribed on the World Heritage List under Natural Criteria vii and x. One of the first inscriptions.
1996: Listed as a World Heritage site in Danger due to the effect of encroachment on wildlife habitat.
2005: Area expanded under the same criteria.

IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORY: 
II National Park

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL PROVINCE

Ethiopian Highlands (3.18.12)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

In northern Ethiopia on the Amhara plateau in the western Simen Mountains, 120 km northeast of Gondar. Location: 13° 11′N, 38° 04′E. The town of Adi Ark’ay lies to the north, Debark, 50 km to the south-west and Deresge to the south east.

VEGETATION

The Simen Mountains are a part of the Afro-alpine Centre of Plant Diversity, with high unquantified levels of endemism due to past isolation (5-10 species), though as a result of their recent post-volcanic post-glacial history they are low in diversity compared with other Afro-alpine regions (Magin, 2001). The Park, on the margins of the Palaearctic biome, preserves a representative part of the Ethiopian Tropical Seasonal Highland biome and contains vegetation characteristic of each. The floristically rich vegetation grows in four belts related to altitude: Afromontane forest, Hypericum woodland, Afromontane grassland and Afro-alpine moorland. Species in the latter two biomes show xeromorphic adaptations to extreme high altitude conditions, and much speciation. However the heavy overgrazing has eroded and degraded the grassland which is now very unproductive. In 1996, of 900 ha of Afro-alpine vegetation, 25% was heavily overgrazed, 60% heavily grazed and 15% more or less natural (Debonnet et al, 2006).
The rather species-poor forest below 3,000m is mostly felled except in the gorges where some Syzygium guineense, Juniperus procera and Olea europaea ssp.africana remain (Nievergelt,1998). The escarpment cliffs, gorge sides and ridge tops are vegetated with coarse tussock grasses, cliff-hanging herbs and small shrub thickets of Rumex nervosus, scattered Otostegia minucci, Geranium arabicum, Thymus spp., Trifolium spp., and the creepers Clematis simensis and Galium spurium. From 3,000m to 3,800m was once Erica arborea – Hypericum revolutum (tree heather – giant St.John’s wort) heath-woodland but few trees remain since the area was cleared for growing cereals and there is no regeneration. From 3,800m to the alpine zone is subalpine grassland dominated by giant lobelia Lobelia rhynchopetalum with tree heather Erica arborea, torch lily Kniphofia foliosa, African rose Rosa abyssinica, yellow primrose Primula verticillata (a Palaearctic species), Solanum sp., everlasting Helichrysum citrispinum, lady’s mantle Alchemilla alpina and Urtica spp. Lichens Usnea spp. drape the trees. A stonecrop Rosularia simiensis is endemic to the Simien mountains as are ten of the grass species. The endemic tussock grass Festuca gilbertiana is known only from the Geech plateau. This tufted grassland, formerly a rich mosaic, has been largely replaced by short-grass turf of Festuca macrophylla with Carex erythrorhiza, and has been worn down by cattle which also pollute the streams. Above this level is alpine moorland with mosses of the Grimmiacea family (Ashine, 1982).

FAUNA

A total of 21 mammals has been recorded, including seven endemic species. However, human disturbance and habitat alteration has reduced the range of habitats available to wild animals in the Park as also has the competition from grazing livestock. The Walia ibex Capra walie (CR), nearly endemic to the Simien Mountains, has taken refuge on the cliffs of the northern escarpment and outside the Park. It was reduced to some 250 animals before designation in 1968, plus 50 beyond the Park, but had revived before the 1985-1991 conflict (Ashine,1982). After that it became far more dispersed and wary. Numbers in 1989 were estimated at 400 individuals, decreasing to about 200 in 1996 after poaching had driven animals further east (Shackleton,1997; Nievergelt et al.,1998); but in November 2005 after the incorporation of two further reserves, were estimated to number 623 (Debonnet et al, 2006). The Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox) Canis simensis simensis (CR), endemic to Ethiopia and the rarest canid in the world, depends on rodent prey in the decreasing area of tufted grass habitat. In 1977 it numbered only 20; 40 were seen in the Park in 2003 (Hürni & Stiefel, 2003) and 71 in and around the Park in 2005, nearly all outside it (UNESCO, 2006) Other mammals include gelada baboon Theropithecus gelada, hamadryas baboon Papio hamadryas, anubis baboon Papio anubis, black and white vervet Corcopithecus aethiops, colobus monkey Colobus sp., spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta, golden jackal Canis aureus, leopard Panthera pardus, caracal Felis caracal, serval Felis serval, wild cat F. silvestris, and several large herbivores including bush pig Potamochoerus porcus, bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus, bush duiker Sylvicapra grimmia, and klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus also now retreating from the Park (Nievergelt et al.,1998). Five small mammal species are nationally endemic.
The Park lies within one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas (Stattersfield et al.,1998). The 137 recorded bird species noted in Fishpool & Evans (2001) include 16 endemic to Ethiopia: wattled ibis Bostrychia carunculata, spot-billed plover Hoplopterus melanocephalus, blackwinged lovebird Agopornis taranta, blackheaded forest oriole Oriolus menarche, blackheaded siskin Serinus nigiceps, Abyssinian catbird Parophasma galinieri, Abyssinian longclaw Macronyx flavicollis, whitebilled starling Onychognathus albirostris and thickbilled raven Cornus crassirostris; and on the cliffs, whitecollared pigeon Columba albitorques, whitewinged cliff-chat, Myrmicocichla semirufa and Ruppell’s chat M. melaena. Typical of Afrotropical highlands are chestnut-naped francolin Francolinus castaneicollis, Abyssinian hill-babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica, spotbreasted lapwing Vanellus melanocephalus and chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. There are also 25 species of raptors including lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, four other vultures and four species of eagle (Hillman,1993).

DATES AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT

1969: Simen Mountains National Park established by Order 59 in the Negarit
Gazeta 29 (4):6-8 (original area: 22,500 ha), including several villages and farmlands;
1983-1999: The Park was closed to the public during a 17-year civil conflict;
1996: Listed as endangered due to heavy settlement by farmers and declining numbers of Walia ibex.
1997: Management transferred from the national to the Amharan regional government;
2005: Boundaries altered to excise settlements and increase the area of protected wildlife habitat. The National Park extended
to include the reserves of Mesareriya (southeast) and Lemalino (west).The World Heritage site is to be renamed on
re-gazettement.

Simen Park
LAND TENURE
Government, in Gondar province, Amhara region. Administered by the Amhara Parks Development and Protection Authority (PaDPA) of the Amharan National Regional State government.

AREA

23,200 ha (Debonnet et al, 2006). The Report on the 30th Session of the World Heritage Committee states that the area was increased from 13,600 ha in 2005. (UNESCO,WHC,2009 gives 22,000 ha).
ALTITUDE
1,900m to 4,430m.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

The Park lies on the spectacularly rugged and dissected northern edge of the vast undulating Geech plateau in the western part of the Simien Massif. It occupies a narrow strip on top of an 1,000m escarpment and a strip at its foot. The area is just north of the highest peak in Ethiopia, Ras Dazhen (4,624m), which with other mountain peaks overlooks the Park. This massif, part of a dome of igneous basalts, was formed some 75 million years ago, and experienced a period of vulcanism which ended 4-5 mya, followed by glaciation (Hürni & Ludi,2000). It is deeply cut by forested gorges and sheer cliffs, some 1,500m high which extend for 35 km along the north escarpment. The plateau is bisected north to south by the Mayshasha River, of which it is the principal catchment. There are fast-flowing permanent streams and high waterfalls draining on the north-east and south to deep valleys tributary to the Tekeze River, which drains eventually into the Atbara. Soils from the volcanic substrate are fertile but very degraded from overgrazing and have very low productivity. They become lithosols in alpine and rocky areas. From its creation, the Park enclosed several villages, and was about 30% cultivated land.

CLIMATE

The mean annual rainfall is 1,550mm falling in two wet seasons, from February to March, and July to September which is said to have become much lower since the 1960s (Magin, 2001). Temperatures range from a minimum of -2.5°C to 4°C to a maximum of 11°C to 18°C. There are often drying winds during the day; frosts may occur at night, and snow sometimes settles on the summit of Ras Dazhen..

The national park has three general botanical regions. The higher lands are mountain grasslands with fescue grasses as well as heathers, splendid Red Hot Pokers and Giant Lobelia. The park was created primarily to protect the Walia Ibex, and over 1000 are said to live in the park. Also in the park are families of the unique Gelada Baboon with its scarlet ‘bleeding heart on its chest,’ and the rare Simien fox. The Simien fox, although named after the mountain is rarely seen by the visitor. Over 50 species of birds have been reported in the Simien Mountains.

The Park was one of the first four sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Massive erosion of the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world: jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and precipices sheer for 1,500 metres. The Park is the refuge of the extremely rare Ethiopian wolf, gelada baboon and Walia ibex,a goat unique to Ethiopia. After the site’s management was transferred from Addis Abeba to the Amhara region in 1997, a committee for the Park’s rehabilitation was set up, the budget and staff increased, there was local participation in decisions, resettlement of farmers, excision of villages and extension of the Park.
Threats to the Site: The World Heritage Committee placed the Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996 because of decline in the population of the Walia ibex due to human settlement, grazing, agriculture and road construction. The ibex may now number over 500 and be on the increase but the Ethiopian wolf remains extremely rare.

COUNTRY Ethiopia
NAME Simien Mountains National Park
NATURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN DANGER
1978: Inscribed on the World Heritage List under Natural Criteria vii and x. One of the first inscriptions.
1996: Listed as a World Heritage site in Danger due to the effect of encroachment on wildlife habitat.
2005: Area expanded under the same criteria.

IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORY:

II National Park
BIOGEOGRAPHICAL PROVINCE
Ethiopian Highlands (3.18.12)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
In northern Ethiopia on the Amhara plateau in the western Simen Mountains, 120 km northeast of Gondar. Location: 13° 11′N, 38° 04′E. The town of Adi Ark’ay lies to the north, Debark, 50 km to the south-west and Deresge to the south east.
DATES AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT
1969: Simen Mountains National Park established by Order 59 in the Negarit
Gazeta 29 (4):6-8 (original area: 22,500 ha), including several villages and farmlands;
1983-1999: The Park was closed to the public during a 17-year civil conflict;
1996: Listed as endangered due to heavy settlement by farmers and declining numbers of Walia ibex.
1997: Management transferred from the national to the Amharan regional government;
2005: Boundaries altered to excise settlements and increase the area of protected wildlife habitat. The National Park extended
to include the reserves of Mesareriya (southeast) and Lemalino (west).The World Heritage site is to be renamed on
re-gazettement.

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Babile Elephant Sanctuary

Babile Elephant Sanctuary
Babile Elephant Sanctuary was established in 1970 G.C.It is 6982 square klometres wide & it is 560 kms east of Addis Ababa.
Key Species
Elephant endemic Subspecies:Loxondata Africana orleansi

Elephant 
FACT FILE:
Swahili Name: Tembo or ndovu
Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
Size: Up to 11 feet
Weight: 31/2 – 61/2 tons (7,000 13,200 lb)
Lifespan: 60 to 70 years
Habitat: Dense forest to open plains
Diet: Herbivorous
Gestation: About 22 months
Predators: Humans

The African elephant and the Asian elephant are the only two surviving species of what was in prehistoric times a diverse and populous group of large mammals. Fossil records suggest that the elephant has some unlikely distant relatives, namely the small, rodentlike hyrax and the ungainly aquatic dugong. They all are thought to have evolved from a common stock related to ungulates. In East Africa many well-preserved fossil remains of earlier elephants have aided scientists in dating the archaeological sites of prehistoric man.

Physical Characteristics
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal, one of the most impressive animals on earth.
Of all its specialized features, the muscular trunk is the most remarkable it serves as a nose, a hand, an extra foot, a signaling device and a tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, digging and a variety of other functions. Not only does the long trunk permit the elephant to reach as high as 23 feet, but it can also perform movements as delicate as picking berries or caressing a companion. It is capable, too, of powerful twisting and coiling movements used for tearing down trees or fighting. The trunk of the African elephant has two finger-like structures at its tip, as opposed to just one on the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

The tusks, another remarkable feature, are greatly elongated incisors (elephants have no canine teeth); about one-third of their total length lies hidden inside the skull. The largest tusk ever recorded weighed 214 pounds and was 138 inches long. Tusks of this size are not found on elephants in Africa today, as over the years hunters and poachers have taken animals with the largest tusks. Because tusk size is an inherited characteristic, it is rare to find one now that would weigh more than 100 pounds.

Both male and female African elephants have tusks, although only males in the Asiatic species have them. Tusks grow for most of an elephant’s lifetime and are an indicator of age. Elephants are “right- or left-tusked,” using the favored tusk more often as a tool, thus, shortening it from constant wear. Tusks will differ in size, shape and direction; researchers use them (and the elephant’s ears) to identify individuals.

Although the elephant’s remaining teeth do not attract the ivory poacher, they are nonetheless interesting and ultimately determine the natural life span of the elephant. The cheek teeth erupt in sequence from front to rear (12 on each side, six upper and six lower), but with only a single tooth or one and a part of another, being functional in each half of each jaw at one time. As a tooth becomes badly worn, it is pushed out and replaced by the next tooth growing behind. These large, oblong teeth have a series of cross ridges across the surface. The last molar, which erupts at about 25 years, has the greatest number of ridges but must also serve the elephant for the rest of its life. When it has worn down, the elephant can no longer chew food properly; malnutrition sets in, hastening the elephant’s death, usually between 60 and 70 years of age.

The African elephant’s ears are over twice as large as the Asian elephant’s and have a different shape, often described as similar to a map of Africa. The nicks, tears and scars as well as different vein patterns on the ears help distinguish between individuals. Elephants use their ears to display, signal or warn when alarmed or angry, they spread the ears, bringing them forward and fully extending them. The ears also control body temperature. By flapping the ears on hot days, the blood circulates in the ear’s numerous veins; the blood returns to the head and body about 9 F cooler.

The sole of the elephant’s foot is covered with a thick, cushionlike padding that helps sustain weight, prevents slipping and deadens sound. When they need to, elephants can walk almost silently. An elephant usually has five hoofed toes on each forefoot and four on each hind foot. When it walks, the legs on one side of the body move forward in unison.

Sometimes it is difficult for the layman to distinguish between male and female elephants as the male has no scrotum (the testes are internal), and both the male and the female have loose folds of skin between the hind legs. Unlike other herbivores, the female has her two teats on her chest between her front legs. As a rule, males are larger than females and have larger tusks, but females can usually be identified by their pronounced foreheads.

Habitat
Elephants can live in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food and water. Their ideal habitat consists of plentiful grass and browse.

Behavior
Elephants are generally gregarious and form small family groups consisting of an older matriarch and three or four offspring, along with their young. It was once thought that family groups were led by old bull elephants, but these males are most often solitary. The female family groups are often visited by mature males checking for females in estrus. Several interrelated family groups may inhabit an area and know each other well. When they meet at watering holes and feeding places, they greet each other affectionately.

Females mature at about 11 years and stay in the group, while the males, which mature between 12 and 15, are usually expelled from the maternal herd. Even though these young males are sexually mature, they do not breed until they are in their mid- or late 20s (or even older) and have moved up in the social hierarchy. Mature male elephants in peak condition experience an annual period of heightened sexual and aggressive activity called musth. During this period, which may last a week or even up to three to four months, the male produces secretions from swollen temporal glands, continuously dribbles a trail of strong-smelling urine and makes frequent mating calls. Females are attracted to these males and prefer to mate with them rather than with males not in musth.

Smell is the most highly developed sense, but sound deep growling or rumbling noises is the principle means of communication. Some researchers think that each individual has its signature growl by which it can be distinguished. Sometimes elephants communicate with an ear-splitting blast when in danger or alarmed, causing others to form a protective circle around the younger members of the family group. Elephants make low-frequency calls, many of which, though loud, are too low for humans to hear. These sounds allow elephants to communicate with one another at distances of five or six miles.

Diet
an elephant’s day is spent eating (about 16 hours), drinking, bathing, dusting, wallowing, playing and resting (about three to five hours). As an elephant only digests some 40 percent of what it eats, it needs tremendous amounts of vegetation (approximately 5 percent of its body weight per day) and about 30 to 50 gallons of water. A young elephant must learn how to draw water up into its trunk and then pour it into its mouth. Elephants eat an extremely varied vegetarian diet, including grass, leaves, twigs, bark, fruit and seed pods. The fibrous content of their food and the great quantities consumed makes for large volumes of dung.

Caring for the Young
usually only one calf is born to a pregnant female. An orphaned calf will usually be adopted by one of the family’s lactating females or suckled by various females. Elephants are very attentive mothers, and because most elephant behavior has to be learned, they keep their offspring with them for many years. Tusks erupt at 16 months but do not show externally until 30 months. The calf suckles with its mouth (the trunk is held over its head); when its tusks are 5 or 6 inches long, they begin to disturb the mother and she weans it. Once weaned usually at age 4 or 5, the calf still remains in the maternal group.

Predators
Elephants once were common throughout Africa, even in northern Africa as late as Roman times. They have since disappeared from that area due to over hunting and the spread of the desert. Even though they are remarkably adaptable creatures, living in habitats ranging from lush rain forest to semi desert, there has been much speculation about their future. Surviving populations are pressured by poachers who slaughter elephants for their tusks and by rapidly increasing human settlements, which restrict elephants’ movements and reduce the size of their habitat. Today it would be difficult for elephants to survive for long periods of time outside protected parks and reserves. But confining them also causes problems without access any longer to other areas, they may harm their own habitat by overfeeding and overuse. Sometimes they go out of protected areas and raid nearby farms.

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Senkelle Hartebeest Sanctuary

The Senkelle Wldlife Sanctuary is located 48km west of Hawassa, it is 340 kms south of Addis Ababa and covers an area of 54km2. The sanctuary was originally established to protect the endemic and endangered antelope species called Swayne’s hartebeests. The sanctuary is located in between Oromia and SNNPRS and managed by the Ethiopian Wildlife Cconservation Authority. The open acacia woodland of the reserve is quite scenic and some of the animals are easily spotted, specially the Swayne’s hartebeests, the population of which is currently estimated at between 600 and 800. The sanctuary harbor other wild animals including Bohor, reedbucks, greater kudus, orbis antelopes, spotted hyenas, serval and civet cats, caracals, warthogs, common jackals as well as 91 species of bird.

Establishment 
Senekelle Hartebeest Sanctuary was established in 1976 G.C.

Key species
Swaynes hartebeest,Bohor Reed buck,Oribi & greater Kudu

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