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
"Unless we start doing something and enhance their conservation they
could definitely disappear," said Dr Abebe Demissie, general manager at
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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