Semien National Park
Registered as World Heritage in 1978 the Semien National Park, Amhara region is a spectacular landscape, where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. the park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species.
The spectacular landscape is part of the Semien mountain massif, which is located on the northern limit of the main Ethiopian plateau and includes the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen. The undulating plateau of the Semien mountains has over millions of years been eroded to form precipitous cliffs and deep gorges of exceptional natural beauty. Some cliffs reach 1500 m in height and the northern cliff wall extends for some 35 km. the mountains are bounded are bounded by deep valleys to the north, east and south, and offer vast vistas over the rugged-canyon like lowlands below.
The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation. It forms part of the Afroalpine Centre of plant diversity and the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity biodiversity hotspot, and it is home to a number of globally threatened species. The cliff areas of the park are the main habitat of the endangered Walia Ibex (Copra walie), a wild mountain goat which is endemic to the Semien Mountains. Other flagship species include the Endangered Ethiopian wolf (or Semien fox, Canis simensis), considered to be the rarest canid species in the world and the Galeda Baboon (Theropithecus gelada), both of which are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands and depend on Afroalpine grasslands and heathlands. Other large mammal species include the Anubis baboon, Hamadryas baboon, klipspringer, and golden jackal. The park is also an important Bird Area that forms part of the larger Endemic Bird Area of the central Ethiopian Highlands. In total, over 20 large mammal species and over 130 bird species and 16 bird species. The park’s richness in species and habitats is a result of its great altitudinal, topographic and climatic diversity, which have shaped its Afromontane and Afroalpine ecosystems.
The site is located in the western Semien Mountains, 120 km north-east of Gondar in Amhara region. With its abundance of creviced basalt rock, Semien serves as an ideal water catchment area, replenished by two wet seasons and the Mayshasha River, which weaves its way north to south through the national park. Consequently the park is rich in a wide range of wildlife and vegetation.
Source: Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage