Addis Ababa March 7, 2017 The government and stakeholders were urged to integrate efforts in solving the challenges the Bale Mountains National Park has been facing.
A consultative forum on the future of the park is currently underway in Bishoftu.
Addressing the consultative meeting, Director-General of Ethiopian Wildlife Development and Conservation Authority, Dawed Mume, said Bale Mountains National Park is a pioneering park in its ecosystem and social economic significance not only in Ethiopia but also in Africa.
The park is however exposed to danger as many people in 3 kebeles are settled within the park, he added.
The huge numbers of cattle that graze in the park and other problems have also posed threat to endemic birds and mammals as well as plants.
According to the director-general, a 10-year comprehensive management plan composed of five programs was designed and the public as well as stakeholders are discussing the document.
The document was submitted for final inputs to the consultative forum, he elaborated.
In 2008, Bale Mountains National Park was provisionally registered at UNESCO heritage, it was learned.
The director-general revealed that the park, however, fell short of formal registration due to failure to effectively carry out the necessary works; adding that this has been raised by inhabitants of Bale Zone and the Oromos in general as a manifestation of lack of good governance.
He further claimed that the park area is now demarcated with the participation of the community and legal frameworks have been put in place to ensure the legal status of the park.
Analysis on the physical and biological make up of the park has already been completed, the director mentioned.
Manager of Bale Mountains National Park, Shamil Kedir said that the shortfalls in the park are far greater than they appear to be and need urgent response.
Schools and health facilities that constructed for the three kebeles in the park area should either be removed or allowed to continue without jeopardizing the state of flora and fauna in the park, he stressed.
More than 750,000 animals are using the park as a grazing field.
Over the previous year, proliferation of wildfires and rabies among the wide animals has resulted in the death of 100 endemic Red foxes. To date, the director- general added that only 450 Red Fox species live in the park, indicating the extent of the damage perpetrated on wild life in the area.
A consortium of NGOs organized to raise 5 million Euros to engage in projects which included capacity building, research, and community empowerment, technical, logistics and financial support, has been working, it was pointed out.
Bale Mountains National Park was established in 1970 and is home to rare and endemic animals like Red Fox, Bale Ape, Highland Gazelles, Menelik’s Kudu and some 20 mammals and 160 kinds of flora and some 6 endemic birds.