Diversity of Large and Medium Sized Mammals and their Challenges to National Parks in Amhara Regional State North Western Ethiopia
AbstractThe objective of this survey was to identify the diversity, abundance of medium and large mammals & their challenges affecting conservation and management of national parks in the region and to suggest management strategies that can bring solutions to the problems. Studies on the species diversity and distribution of medium and large mammals were carried out from August 2020 to 2021. Data were collected using line transect technique. A total of 45 medium & large-sized species of mammals were recorded, distributed among 15 families and 8 orders during the study period, through visual observation, interview & indirect signs of their presence. Order Carnivora was the first & the most abundant in terms of number of families (7 families) and species (18 species), followed by Artiodactyla (the second abundant – 3 families and 15 species), Primate (represented by 1 family belonging to 6 species), and Hyracoidea (1 family belonging to 2 species), whereas three mammalian orders (Proboscidea, Rodentia & Lagomorpha) were represented by a single family and a single species for each. The most recognized endemic wild mammals in the region are Walia Ibex (Capra walie), Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus gelada), Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis), Menelik buck Bush (Tragelaphus meneliki), and Starck's Hare (Lepus starcki). The major challenges to the conservation of wild mammals species identified in parks were: over-grazing; illegal human settlement; agricultural expansion; pastoralist movement (foreign nomads of Felata); illegal hunting; drought causing migration of mammals; human-wildlife conflict; conflict interests among woredas (kebeles) regarding scouts employment; conflict interests among communities to give mule transport (services) for visitors; insufficient camp site; insufficient number of scouts; insufficient physical infrastructure (road light); over-harvesting of resources; problem of a well-defined Buffer Zone; deforestation for firewood, charcoal & building; human induced wild fire; lack of training for scouts; lack of community awareness; wild mammals being killed with chemicals added to the water to catch fish.Key words: National parks, Diversity, Wild Mammals, endemic
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