Ethiopia has a large variety of indigenous plant and animal species. In some areas, the mountains are covered with shrubs
such aspyracantha, jasmine, poinsettia, and a varied assortment of
evergreens. Caraway, carcade, cardamom, chat, coriander, incense, myrrh, and red pepper are common. The lakes in
the Great Rift Valley region abound with numerous species of birds, and wild animals are found in every region. Among
the latter are the lion, civet, serval, elephant, bushpig, gazelle, antelope, ibex, kudu, dik-dik, oribi, reedbuck, wild
ass, zebra, hyena, baboon, and numerous species of monkey. As of 2002, there were at least 277 species of mammals, 262
species of birds, and over 6,600 species of plants throughout the country.
This is a list of the mammal species recorded in Ethiopia. There are 279 mammal species in Ethiopia, of which 5 are
critically endangered, 8 are endangered, 27 are vulnerable, and 12 are near-threatened.
The Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society is an independent membership based Society, legally established in
Ethiopia in September 1966. EWNHS is a not-for-profit grassroots indigenous national-level conservation NGO, one of
the most prominent in Ethiopia advocating for wise use and conservation of biodiversity, natural resources and
environment. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie used to be the Patron of the Society. As the oldest non-governmental
environmental conservation organization in Ethiopia, EWNHS has played decisive roles in the appreciation and
conservation of the natural heritage of the country for almost five decades. EWNHS has been reregistered and licensed as
an Ethiopian Residents Charity in December 2009 by the Agency established to manage Charities and Societies in
accordance with the Charities and Societies Proclamation No. 621/2009.
It has been endowed with a certificate of legal registration bearing the number 0720 as official charity number. EWNHS is
the designated BirdLife Partner in Ethiopia, making it part of the world’s largest international network dedicated to the
conservation of the planet’s birds. Accordingly, it shares and is striving to meet the four core pillars of conservation
objectives of BirdLife International Partnership: Saving species, protecting sites, conserving habitats and empowering and
improving the livelihoods of people. As a BirdLife Partner, EWNHS represents the bird conservation of Ethiopia
nationally and across the world and has access to the many resources the Partnership provides its members, including
scientific support and institutional development.
The Society is the main authority in the country on the avifauna of Ethiopia and exerts great efforts to save threatened
species (e.g. Liben Lark, White-winged Flufftail) from extinction. It is very much specialized in environmental education
and production of environment-related promotional publications that focus on species, sites, habitats and site-adjacent
communities. To that effect, the Society has been successful in publishing and disseminating over 20 assorted thematic
promotional publications to various audiences.
EWNHS promotes understanding, appreciation and conservation of nature by working closely with government and
nongovernment conservation institutions, individuals, schools, higher learning institutions, community groups and other
conservation organizations engaged in issues pertaining to conservation of biodiversity to ensure that the future
generations treasure and protect Ethiopia’s natural heritage. It is very well experienced in working with and
accommodating the interests of like-minded stakeholders and partners. As result of its work in collaboration with all
stakeholders throughout Ethiopia, EWNHS has a wide supporter base and its relation with the Government of Ethiopia is
very strong. It is the first national NGO in Ethiopia to sign a formal contract with Government to implement a biodiversity
conservation project funded by GEF for five years.
A few assets of the Society include, among others: Working with an array of like-minded conservation networks
Smooth and mutual working relationships with stakeholders Reputable image within stakeholders and the public domain
Good and transparent track records in financial management Very much specialized in project development and
management Exemplary and a springboard for sprouting of similar sister conservation organizations Possesses very
resourceful working and procedural manuals Transparency and accountability A resource center for ornithological
A Board of Management (Executive Committee), elected from among members every three years (seven
in number), governs the Society under guidelines from its General Assembly. Board members serve on a
voluntary basis on policy levels, whilst a Secretariat runs the day-to-day activities of the Society, headed
by an Executive Director and staffed with over 20 salaried employees. The Executive Director is a non-
voting member and Secretary of the Board.
Ethiopia’s environment conserved and enhanced jointly by citizens and Government and biodiversity
sustainably serving livelihoods of present and future generations.
The conservation, development and sustainable utilization of Ethiopia’s biodiversity and nature
enhanced through education, awareness raising, advocacy and research.
EWNHS anticipates attaining the following specific objectives:
Promote education on environment, conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity and natural resources of the
Raise awareness of members and the wider public on the need to conserve the environment and biodiversity and
promoting sustainable utilization of natural resources of the country.
Disseminate information and lessons learnt on biodiversity conservation and environmental protection activities to
various stakeholders to support informed decision-making.
Advocate for development of strategies, formulation of policies and issuance of legislations that are pertinent to
conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity and natural resources.
Ensure that development plans taking place at key sites, identified as Biodiversity Hotspots, are eco-friendly and are not
affecting the sites in any manner.
Support, promote and conduct demand-driven researches related to conservation of biodiversity and protection of
Undertake on-the-ground conservation activities at key and threatened biodiversity sites when deemed necessary.
Conduct continuous monitoring activities at selected wetlands and other key biodiversity sites designated as IBAs.
Advocate and take mitigation measures against potential introduction and expansion of non-native species that are
detrimental to the existence of indigenous species and promote the planting of indigenous tree species.
Work in close and smooth partnership with government and other like-minded non-state actors in the areas of bringing
about good environmental governance.
History Part I
The Land and Its People
Her geography is unique. Covering well over a million square kilometers, Ethiopia is about
twice as large as Kenya or Texas, or about five times as large as the United Kingdom. Its
magnificent landscape ranges from desert areas to forested highlands. At 4,620 meters,
Mount Ras Deshen is Ethiopia's highest peak, and Africa's fourth highest, but twenty mountains
rise to more than 4,000 meters. The waters of the Abay River, or Blue Nile, feed Lake Tana and
flow into the Nile. Most of the Nile's waters originate in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is generally considered Africa's oldest continuously identifiable nation, though Egypt's
written history is older and more complete. Ethiopia is landlocked today. Eritrea (independent
since 1993), Djibouti and parts of Somalia, share much of their ancient, medieval and modern
histories with Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was formerly known. Yemen is nearby. Across the Red Sea is
the mountainous Asir Province of Saudi Arabia. Asir, which lies in
Asia, has a rugged topography not unlike that of Ethiopia's uplands,
and Ethiopians are one of the province's larger ethnic minorities. In
times past, Ethiopia bordered Egypt, encompassing parts of what is
Ethiopia is home to the lion, leopard and cheetah, but to many other
species as well. A short list would include the giraffe, elephant,
rhinoceros, bushpig, warthog, and various varieties of ibex
(including the rare walia), duiker, antelope, gazelle, zebra, buffalo,
monkey, baboon, hyena, jackal and wolf. Some of these creatures
exist in larger populations in neighboring Kenya, but Ethiopia
probably boasts more wild mammal species than any other country
in the world. Many are dwarfed by the ostrich, one of Ethiopia's 800 bird species. Some of these
animals are unique to Ethiopia. Ethiopia's plant life is equally diverse.
The first Ethiopians had names like Lucy Australopithecus Afarensis, Australopithecus Africanus
and Homo Habilis. They were the predecessors of homo sapiens, our species. Ethiopia's Great Rift
Valley and other regions have yielded finds which indicate that this nation may well be the
birthplace of the human race.
There are two possible origins of the name Ethiopia. Tradition says it derives from the name of
Etiopik, descendant of the Biblical Noah. Linguists believe it comes from the Greek expression for
"sunburned faces." Abyssinia, another ancient name for this land, probably comes to us from the
Arabic habishat, which in this context refers to the country's "mixed" population.
There is no doubt that humans have inhabited Ethiopia since the dawn of recorded history, as
indicated in early cave drawings. The more modern Ethiopians are
not a single racial or ethnic group, a fact reflected in the diversity
of their languages. Despite some twentieth-century European
attempts to present them as dark Caucasians, Ethiopians are
Some Ethiopian peoples, such as the Surma, were clearly tribal and
semi-nomadic, while others were more reliant on agriculture. It's
difficult to generalize about such a complex ethnic mix of peoples.
Top of Page
Yet, Ethiopia is the only sub-Saharan African nation with clear historical and cultural ties to the
ancient cultures of the Mediterranean. Perhaps based on their naval explorations of "Punt"
(probably a coastal city on the Red Sea), the Egyptians themselves believed that their forebears
were Ethiopian, and an Ethiopian dynasty was established in Egypt in 720 BC (BCE). Various
inscriptions and other records indicate that the earliest Egyptians clearly knew of Ethiopia's
existence, but at that time the latter was little more than a loosely allied network of kingdoms.
The Old Testament makes no fewer than thirty references to Ethiopia ("Cush" to the Hebrews).
Moses wed an "Ethiopian" woman (Numbers 12:1). According to tradition, the Ethiopian nation
was founded by Etiopik, great grandson of Noah, and Axum (Aksum) was founded by Etiopik's son,
Aksumai. Queen Makeda of Sabea (Sheba) would have been a member of this dynasty; she ruled a
vast area that included Yemen, and in her reign Ethiopians traded with
peoples as far as Palestine and India. Makeda ventured to Jerusalem to visit
King Solomon, by whom she bore a son, Menelik (from Ibn-al-Malik, Son of
the King). Thus was established the Solomonic dynasty, which tradition
identifies with various lines amalgamated into the dynasty that ruled until
1974. It is believed that Menelik visited his father in Jerusalem for three
years as a young adult, learning the Mosaic law, and returned to Ethiopia
with the Ark of the Covenant. There is, however, no conclusive evidence of
this, or of the Jewish Felasha peoples being descended from Jews of
Solomon's time, and some scholars identify Queen Makeda with Queen
Bilkis of Sabea (Yemen).
Ethiopia has existed in some form as an identifiable state since the 10th
century BC. Much more recently, the ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the Ethiopians and
traded with them.
Axum (Aksum), in the northern Tigray region near Adwa, was founded around 500 BC. Its
economic importance, based on trade, was born during the Ptolemaic period of Egypt (330 BC)
and flourished with the expansion of the Roman Empire. Roman civilization outshone Greek
culture for a time, but with the rise to prominence of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire and the
arrival of Christianity, the Greeks again made their influence felt. King Ezana was famous for
The Axumite Empire is described in the Greek chronicle Periplus of the Ancient Sea, written in
the first century, and by the Persian author Manni, who two centuries later considered it one of the
world's great empires, in the company of Persia, China and Rome. Axum traded with Arabia, India,
Rome and Persia. The Axumites spoke a language called Ge'ez, written with the Sabaean alphabet.
Their greatest architectural legacy is their distinctive monolithic granite towers.
Though Greek influences were certainly evident, Axum gradually developed into a civilization in its
own right. With the support of the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Axumite emperor Caleb fought a
war against Jewish traders and colonists in Yemen in AD 523 (523 CE) in response to the
persecution of Christians there, imposing Ethiopian administration for a time.
By the eighth century, with Muslim influence growing, Ethiopian political influence on the Arabian
Peninsula gradually diminished, though Ethiopian traders continued to reside there. The Axumite
Empire itself spread southward into the Agew region and then to Lasta, and this led to squabbles
with the peoples of these areas.