Ethiopia's wildlife on brink of extinction

Ethiopia's wildlife on brink of extinction

 

                   Ethiopia is in imminent danger of losing its rare wildlife, the national Institute

                   of Biodiversity Conservation and Research (ICBR) has warned.

 

                   At least four mammals and two bird species are facing extinction, the

                   Ethiopian-based wildlife institute said. According to experts the Walia ibex,

                   Ethiopian wolf, mountain nyala and Grevy zebras as well as the

                   white-winged fluff tail and Ankober Serin bird species are all threatened.

 

                   The institute said there are only 514 Walia ibex, less than 2 000 mountain

                   nyala and 800 Grevy zebras. Wildlife experts say the rare species - all of

                   which are endemic to Ethiopia - need a population of around 2 500 to

                   survive.

 

                   "Unless we start doing something and enhance their conservation they

                   could definitely disappear," said Dr Abebe Demissie, general manager at

                   the IBCR.

 

                   A further nine big mammal species and 14 bird species are also vulnerable,

                   according to the institute.

 

                   The IBCR says that the massive deforestation in Ethiopia is one of the

                   primary reasons for declining wildlife species in the country.

 

                   "At the turn of the century we had something like 35% of forests in the

                   country," Dr Abebe told IRIN. "Now the forests have been degraded to such

                   a level that we have only 2,7%. This has a major implication on the wildlife.

                   If the forests are gone the wildlife goes. At the turn of the century you would

                   see lions around Addis Ababa."

 

                   He stressed that the loss of forests not only drives wildlife away but also

                   affects the climate of the region and water preservation. "It has a huge

                   socio-economic impact. It is a very serious problem."

 

                   The IBCR says the international community needs to recognise the dangers

                   that Ethiopia faces and offer financial support. "We should be prepared to

                   reverse the trend now in terms of forest degradation, in terms of loss of

                   wildlife," Abebe said.

 

                   "The bottom line is poverty really. If you alleviate the poverty scale in this

                   country you will definitely have an impact in terms of conservation," he

                   added. - Irin

 

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