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Simien National Park

Simien National Park

Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Parc national du Simien

Une érosion massive au cours des ans a formé sur le plateau éthiopien un des paysages les plus spectaculaires du monde, avec des pics, des vallées, et des précipices atteignant jusqu'à 1 500 m de profondeur. Le parc est le refuge d'animaux extrêmement rares, comme le babouin gelada, le renard du Simien ou Walia ibex, sorte de chèvre qu'on ne trouve nulle part ailleurs.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

منتزه سيمين الوطني

أدّت عمليّة التعرية الكثيفة على مرّ السنين إلى تكوّن أحد أجمل مناظر العالم الطبيعيّة على الهضبة الإثيوبيّة، منظر من قمم ووديان وهاويات سحيقة تصل إلى عمق 1500 متر. والمنتزه هو محميّة حيوانات نادرة مثل قرد والثعلب القدري أو الوعل الجبلي في اثيوبيا نوع من الماعز غير موجودٍ في أي مكانٍ آخر.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Национальный парк Сымен

Интенсивная многолетняя эрозия на Эфиопском нагорье привела к рождению одного из самых потрясающих ландшафтов на Земле. Ландшафт парка поражает зазубренными горными вершинами, глубокими ущельями и гигантскими отвесными обрывами высотой до 1500 м. Здесь обитают очень редкие звери, например, обезьяна гелада, эфиопский шакал, а также абиссинский горный козел – копытное, уцелевшее только в этих краях.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Parque Nacional de Simien

La erosión secular masiva ha creado en la meseta etíope uno de los paisajes más espectaculares del mundo con picos, valles hondos y precipicios escarpados que alcanzan los 1.500 metros de profundidad. El parque sirve de refugio a especies animales extremadamente raras como el babuino gelada, el zorro de Simien y el ibex walia, una cabra montesa que no se encuentra en ningún otro lugar del mundo.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Nationaal park Simien

Nationaal park Simien, in het noorden van Ethiopië, heeft een spectaculair landschap. Miljoenen jaren lange erosie op het plateau van de Simien bergen creëerde gekartelde bergtoppen, diepe valleien en scherpe afgronden van ongeveer 1.500 meter diep. Het park is de thuisbasis van enkele uiterst zeldzame bedreigde diersoorten, zoals de Gelada baviaan, de Simien vos en de Walia steenbok (een wilde berggeit die nergens anders ter wereld voorkomt) en de Ethiopische wolf. Het park is voor 80% door mensen in gebruik. Menselijke nederzettingen vormen dan ook een bedreiging voor het gebied, net als teelt, bodemerosie en frequente branden in het bos met boomheide.

Source: unesco.nl

Simien National Park (Ethiopia) © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Simien National Park, in northern Ethiopia is a spectacular landscape, where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species, including the iconic Walia ibex, a wild mountain goat found nowhere else in the world, the Gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf.

Criterion (vii): The property’s spectacular landscape is part of the Simien mountain massif, which is located on the northern limit of the main Ethiopian plateau and includes the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen. The undulating plateau of the Simien mountains has over millions of years been eroded to form precipitous cliffs and deep gorges of exceptional natural beauty. Some cliffs reach 1,500 m in height and the northern cliff wall extends for some 35 km. The mountains are bounded by deep valleys to the north, east and south, and offer vast vistas over the rugged-canyon like lowlands below. The spectacular scenery of the Simien mountains is considered to rival the Grand Canyon (USA).

Criterion (x): The property is of global significance for biodiversity conservation. It forms part of the Afroalpine Centre of Plant Diversity and the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot, and it is home to a number of globally threatened species. The cliff areas of the park are the main habitat of the Endangered Walia ibex (Capra walie), a wild mountain goat which is endemic to the Simien Mountains. Other flagship species include the Endangered Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox, Canis simensis), considered to be the rarest canid species in the world and the Gelada baboon (Theropithecus gelada), both of which are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands and depend on Afroalpine grasslands and heathlands. Other large mammal species include the Anubis baboon, Hamadryas baboon, klipspringer, and golden jackal. The park is also an Important Bird Area that forms part of the larger Endemic Bird Area of the Central Ethiopian Highlands. In total, over 20 large mammal species and over 130 bird species occur in the park. The mountains are home to 5 small mammal species and 16 bird species endemic to Eritrea and/or Ethiopia as well as an important population of the rare lammergeyer, a spectacular vulture species. The park’s richness in species and habitats is a result of its great altitudinal, topographic and climatic diversity, which have shaped its Afromontane and Afroalpine ecosystems.


The property was established in an area inhabited by humans and, at the time of inscription, 80% of the park was under human use of one form or another. Threats to the integrity of the park include human settlement, cultivation and soil erosion, particularly around the village of Gich; frequent fires in the tree heather forest; and excessive numbers of domestic stock. Agricultural and pastoral activities, including both cultivation of a significant area of the property and grazing of a large population of animals in particular have severely affected the natural values of the property, including the critical habitats of the Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf. The boundaries of the property include key areas essential for maintaining the scenic values of the property. However, they do not encompass all the areas necessary to maintain and enhance the populations of the Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf, and a proposal to revise and extend the park boundaries was put forward in the original nomination. Whilst human settlements threaten the integrity of the originally inscribed property, two proposed extensions of the national park (the Masarerya and the Limalimo Wildlife Reserves, and also the Ras Dejen mountain and Silki-Kidis Yared sectors) and their interlinking corridors are free of human settlement and cultivation, and support the key species that are central parts of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Several assessments have considered that an extension of the property to match extended boundaries of the National Park, which to include areas with negligible human population are an essential requirement to maintain its Outstanding Universal Value.

Protection and management requirements

The national park was established in 1969 and is recognised and protected under national protected areas legislation. The property requires an effective management presence and the maintenance and increasing of staff levels and training . Key tasks for the management of the park include the effective protection of the park’s flagship species and close cooperation with local communities in order to reduce the pressure on the park’s resources arising from agricultural expansion, livestock overstocking and overharvesting of natural resources. The pressures on the property are likely to increase further as a result of global climate change.

Significant financial support is needed for the management of the park, and the development of alternative livelihood options for local communities. The development, implementation, review and monitoring of a management plan and the revision and extension of the park boundaries, with the full participation of local communities, is essential. Community partnership is particularly important to both reduce community dependence on unsustainable use of the resources of the national park, and also to develop sustainable livelihoods. Adequate finance to support resettlement of populations living in the property, on a fully voluntary basis, and to introduce effective management of grazing is also essential to reduce the extreme pressure on wildlife. Improving and increasing ecotourism facilities, without impairing the park’s natural and scenic values, has great potential to create additional revenue for the property. Environmental education and training programmes are also needed to support communities in and around the property as well as to maintain community support and partnership in the management of the property in order to ensure it remains of Outstanding Universal Value.