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The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) has begun relocating illegal settlers in the Semien Mountains National Park.
The Authority said a total of 238 households have illegally settled within the 42,200 hectares park area which is located in the Semien Gondar zone of the Amhara Regional state.
“So far, we have relocated eight households, paying a compensation of over six million birr,” said Mebratu Hailu, Public Relations and Communications Director at EWCA. Semien Mountains National Park Office head Maru Biyadgelign called upon the support of all stakeholders to ensure the national park remains free from illegal encroachers.
The park is home to various mammals endemic to Ethiopia including Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon, Red Fox, Menelik’s Bushbuck as well as a variety of birds.
According to Maru, the number of visitors to the park is showing a steady increase over the past years, swelling from a little over 1,000 visitors per annum in 2000 to nearly 16,000 last year.
Semien Mountains National Park was established in 1969 and in 1978 was registered as one of the world’s heritages by UNESCO. The Park’s territory covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashen, the tallest mountain in Ethiopia.
(Walta Information Center)