Bale’s big five
Situated 250 miles (402.3 kilometres) southeast of Addis Ababa, the Bale Mountains National
Park (BMNP) is Ethiopia’s most important biodiversity hotspot and
home to a range of animals
Ethiopia’s famous black-maned lions, which once represented former emperor Haile ‘Lion of Judah’ Selassie, were also immortalised in a song by reggae legend Bob Marley. Today, they cling on in the Harenna Forest, but they are notoriously difficult to spot.
The BMNP is a stronghold of the beautiful and endemic Ethiopian wolf. Africa’s most endangered carnivore, it has just seven populations in Ethiopia totalling around 500 individuals. It lives at high elevations in the Afro-alpine zone, with its diet consisting almost exclusively of the diurnal giant mole rat.
The BMNP is the last main stronghold of the endangered mountain nyala, a large and beautifully marked spiral-horned antelope most often seen on the short walking trail that runs through the juniper-hagenia forest around the park headquarters at Dinsho.
Related to the shelduck, this pale brown and grey goose has distinctive dark brown eye patches and contrasting white wing patches in flight. In the UK it was introduced as an ornamental wildfowl but now breeds in the wild.
This distinctive monkey boasts a white mantle and a tail tuft. Found in diverse regions of equatorial Africa, including the Ethiopian highlands, they are diurnal; their trichromatic vision allows them to see more shades of colour than other primates, so they can spot ripe and unripe fruit.