Alatash National Park
Alatash National Park
Alatash National Park is located in Quara woreda of Northern Gondar Zone. It was established in 2006 and derives its name from the Alatash River that has its source in the park and flows to Sudan.
It covers an area of 266,570 ha composed of lowland woodlands. Landscape at Alatish is flat with elevation ranging from 520 to 920 meter above sea level. There are a few hills in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the area. The Twin Mountains of Amdog are a special feature in the southwestern corner of the park.
The Park shelters suitable habitat for seasonal wetlands, which in turn are productive habitats for birds, fish and other wildlife.
There are about 26 larger mammals (excluding rodents) and 143 recorded bird species. The ornithology of the area requires more investigation but estimates based on habitat diversity show that there could by anything between 250-400 species of birds representing various status. Alatash National Park forms an eco-system between the high mountains of the Simien Mountains National Park and the Sahel zone in the Sudan. As a result, the biological attributes of the park are believed to be diverse and rich. Alatish also has a number of historical and cultural assets. Of these, a large Baobab tree at Omedla and the ethnic composition of the area made up of Folate and Gumuz communities are important tourist attractions.
Unique features - The Park is believed to conserve a major proportion of Sahelian and Sudan-Guinea biome birds and other organisms. It serves as a migratory route for Elephants, which traverse from Dinder National Park in the Sudan. As a result, its role is significant in the formation of a transboundary park between Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan. The various rivers that drain into Sudan from Alatish are important tributaries of the Nile.
A previously unknown population of at least 100 lions has been discovered by a wildlife charity in a remote park in Alatash National Park.
Born Free Foundation said it had obtained camera trap images and identified lion tracks in the Alatash area close to the border with Sudan.
The area is thought to have lost all its lions in the 20th Century because of hunting and habitat destruction.
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The lions are thought to be of the Central African sub-species, of which only about 900 were thought to survive, Born Free Foundation's programmes manager, Mark Jones, told the BBC Newsday programme.
"Even though the team only visited the Ethiopian side of the park because of logistics, lions were likely to exist in the larger, adjacent Dinder National Park across the border in Sudan," he said.
Dr Hans Bauer, a renowned lion conservationist from Oxford University, who led the expedition, said this was the first time that the presence of lions had been confirmed in this area.
He estimated that the area could host a population of 1-200 lions.
The discovery will be good news for wildlife campaigners in Africa, where experts say the number of lions in West and Central parts of the continent is rapidly dropping.
"It is an important finding because knowing where the lions are will help us work with local people and wildlife authorities in order to improve protection and education around why lions are important and why it's important to protect them," Mr Jones added.
Last year (2015), a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, says "many lion populations are either now gone or expected to disappear within the next few decades".