Bale’s big five

World of Animals - - Nature Diaries: The Big Cats Of Bale -

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

Black-maned lion

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.

Ethiopian wolf

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.

Moun­tain nyala

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.

Egyp­tian goose

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.

Black-and-white colobus

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.

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