Simien National Park (1978)

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Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world. 

Ethiopia 1981. Simien National Park. Ethiopia 1994. Simien Fox. Ethiopia 1990. Walia Ibex.

In 1996, the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger for the following reasons. The World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe the Simien National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to evidence of recent deterioration of the population of the Walia ibex. Other large mammals characteristic of the site, such as the bushbuck and the bushpig have become extremely rare. Road construction and human population increase within the site represent further threats to the values of the Park, which was one of the first sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. 

The decision to inscribe this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger had however, not met the approval of the regional authorities in Bahir Dar, where the site is located. Efforts are thus being made by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Ethiopia and the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa to provide more information to the regional authorities on the meaning and implications of the Committee's decision and encourage them to view it in a positive light. 

A stakeholders' meeting was convened by the State Party in June 1998 which led to the formation of a “dialogue group” of various national and regional offices to discuss follow-up activities for the conservation of the park. The responsibilities for the management of the Park were transferred from the Central Authorities to the region. A second stakeholders' meeting, planned for 1999, should address the issues of a strategy for minimising the human population inside the park, the rehabilitation of the park and re-establishing populations of selected species, like the Walia Ibex, which have moved out of the park due to human presence and to cultivation of considerable areas of the Park.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Ethiopia section for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 20 jul 2006  
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