History of Establishment
�The simen mountains national park was gazetted on 31st October 1969.It was one of the first sites to be inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978.The reason for its inscription was its rich biodiversity, its high number of endemic species and its bio-physical features.
The national park is situated between 1309�-13012�N
and 38000�-38012�E in the North Gondar zone in the
The national park currently encompasses 205KM2.
The altitude ranges from 1900meters up to 4430m.asl.
It is an afro-alpine undulating grassland plateau, with
precipitous escarpments dropping away north and east, giving spectacular views
of peaks and canyons, which are outside the park. To the east this landscape
includes Ras Dejen (4624m.asl), the highest peak in
The rainfall pattern in
The Simen area was built up by plateau basalt (Trapp
series). A 3, 000-3,500m thick sequence of basaltic volcano layers was
deposited on Mesozoic sandstone and limestone that form a 500m thick cover over
the Precambrian crystalline basement. These layers are composed of numerous 5
to 50m thick olivine-basalt lava flows, inter bedded with tuff layers. The main
part of the Simen area consists of remnants of a Hawaiian-type shield volcano,
overlying the volcanic flows of the Trapp series. The center of this volcano
probably lays north-west of the peaks Kiddisyared, with Ras Dejen, Silki and
Bwahit forming the outer rim of the crater. The extreme escarpment appeared to
be preconditioned by an extended up lift of the whole massif during the
tertiary, comprising major faults which can be attributed to the Rift system
extending over most of East Africa to the
Topography and Geomorphology
There are four distinctive geomorphic units that can be differentiated along with altitudinal ranges:
������ The floristically rich vegetation grows in four vegetation belts: Afromontane forest, Erica/ Hypericum forest, Afromontane Grasslands and Alpine Moorlands.
������� There are
about 253 species of plants which are belonged to 176 genera and in 100
families. Of these, about 20 species of plants are endemic to the country, and
species are near endemic to
���� In Simen
Mountains National Park 21 large mammals have been recorded. Of these, the
endangered walia ibex (Capra ibex walie) is near endemic to Simen, the
Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis simensis), the rarest canind in the world,
Gelada baboon (Theropiticus gelada), the only extant species in its genera, and
Menilik bushbuck are endemic to the country. There are 14 species of small
mammals. Of these, 3 of them are endemic to
Though Simen has had a great potential for tourism, realization of its potential is still not possible yet. Tourism in Simen is at its infant stage. It is because of the presence of long civil war , and there were no any conducive environment for tourism to grow and develop in the country during the past decades. The national park and its surroundings were barred from visitations by war between 1983 and 1991. However, number of visitors has increased since the aftermath of war. Number of visitors was 58, in1992; it has reached 5074, in 2004/05. Similarly, tourist services and facilities have also increased since 2000. For instance, potable water development; construction of standardized toilets; maintenance of tourist trekking routes, have been conducted in various tourist camp sites. In addition, a private Lodge is under construction near the periphery of the national park boundary; private hotels are under construction in Debark town; local communities have been organized in various service giving associations such as guide, cook, mule teller and porter. In the year 2004/5, these associations have obtained an income of more than 700,000 ETH.Birr. Furthermore, the traditional trekking route that connects Simen to Lalibela, a cultural World Heritage Site, had been surveyed and the possibilities of trekking route establishment were also studied.
�The Simen region is
surrounded by old cultural centers like Axum, Lalibela and
<![if !supportLists]>A. <![endif]>Habitat changes through settlement and deforestations
��������� The area had been suffering from a strong influx of settlers for the last decades. The human population is still arising. It grows 2-3% per year on average subsequently, intensive cutting of tree heather, cutting of long grass in the ranges in and around the escarpment for roof coverage have changed the traditional walia ibex habitats in slopes above the escarpment in an intensive man-used zone. More people need more cultivation land, need more fire wood, create more pollution. People produce bushfire; keep domestic dogs and goats, which can interbreed with Ethiopian wolf and walia ibex respectively.
<![if !supportLists]>B. <![endif]>Habitat changes through cultivation��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� all accessible areas are cultivated up to an altitude of 3,800m.asl.just, and below the forest limit. Pronounced soil degradation due to soil erosion and loss of soil has exhausted virtually the productive potentials of cultivated lands, and the people living in and around the national park are food insecure and are depending on relief food.
<![if !supportLists]>C. <![endif]>Habitat loss through grazing
�������� The stocking density inside the park
is very high. Overgrazing has devastated the afroalpine grassland ecosystem. It
has also a negative consequence for the vegetation, for the soil preservation,
for the chances of survival of Ethiopian wolf in
<![if !supportLists]>D. <![endif]>Habitat
Changes and Destruction of Indigenous
���������� The road constructed to connect Debark town with Mekanebirihan had posed a lot of threat to Walia ibex, Klipspringer, and gelada baboon by separating their foraging habitat from their sheltering cliffs. It cuts straight the main corridors of Walia ibex. It also destructs indigenous forest, endemic flora afroalpine grassland and landscape.
��Current Conservation status
������� The national
park boundary is extended to include the
������� The erection
of boundary beacons along the newly delineated park boundary is undertaken.
Anew map for
���� The population of
walia ibex had been dropped to 250 individuals in 1994, however; because of the
various conservation measures taken by the
Even though the current status of the national park has shown a progressive improvement, some of the major threats are still there, remaining unsolved. Unless the local people who are residing in the core area are relocated outside the national park and are compensated for their properties, managing and maintaining the national park and its internationally recognized heritage values seems to be difficult.� �����������