The effort to register Bale Mountains National park in UNESCO World Heritage List has come close to completion, according to The Ethiopian Wildlife and Conservation Authority (EWCA).
The authority has been working on finalizing the perquisites and documentation required for the registration and is looking forward to the approval of UNESCO's 44th session.
"The Park is one of the great natural resources of our country and we have been working on the process of enrolling it in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the past few years,” Deputy Director of the authority Solomon Mekonnen told Addis Zeybe.
“So far, the only UNESCO-registered park in Ethiopia is the Simien National Park, to be soon followed by Bale Mountains National Park. The registration will enable the park to get international attention on its natural resources, ” he added.
According to the Deputy Director, the completion of the documentation qualifying the park to be registered with UNESCO answers questions raised about the Bale Mountains National Park including its location and current status. He also stressed that all the necessary cooperation is required to address the park's problems.
“Population growth and the rising demand for natural resources are exerting huge pressure on the existence of national parks. Amongst these factors, overgrazing, farming, deforestation, and illegal settlements are the notable ones,” he said.
In this regard, Lakew Berhanu, a biodiversity researcher who spoke to Addis Zeybe says, “the National Park is one of Bird Lite International's most important bird habitats in the world. It is also a safe haven for many wild animals. Wabi Shebele, Web, Dumal, Yadot, and Wolmel rivers flow through Bale Mountains National Park. The registration of all these treasures by UNESCO should be supported in order to preserve the heritage and make it another natural asset to the country.”
Bale Mountains National Park was nominated tentatively by UNESCO in 2009, attributed to its large mammal species, wolf, mountain nyala, and Bale monkey coupled with its incredible demography
Ethiopia’s most important biodiversity spot, Bale Mountains National Park, is known for supporting a rich mosaic of high-altitude habitats including its breathtaking evergreen forest, giant bamboo, and sheltered river valleys swathed in fragrant juniper-hagenia woodland.
Founded in 1962, Bale Mountains National Park is located in the Oromia National Regional State 400 km from the capital in southeastern Ethiopia. It covers an area of 2,200 km and extends 74 km from north to south and 53 km from west to east. The park is situated at an altitude of 1450 to 4,377 feet above sea level. Moreover, Tulu Dimtu, one of the highest places in Ethiopia, 4377 feet high, is located in the park. The site is also home to National Park Lakes created in various ways containing wetlands and volcanic remains.
Known for its spectacular landscape, the national park is characterized by its rugged mountains & valleys, making it one of the ideal tourist destinations. The Bale Mountains harbors 40% of Ethiopia's 1,000 known medicinal plants and its large coffee reserves.
Covering 7,000 square kilometers, the park is endowed with more than 1,600 species of plants, 78 species of mammals, and about 200 birds, among which 32 species of plants and about 17 animal species are endemic to the park.