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The Ethiopian highlands, or the “Roof of Africa,” make up the largest alpine habitat on the African continent. These mountains are well-known for their importance to biodiversity. Water from the highlands feeds the iconic Blue Nile River, which supports millions of people in the lowlands. The forest’s contribution to clean water increases its conservation value to nearby communities. But this reliability of clean water has also led to an increasing human population in the region. This has brought land clearing for agriculture and a severe drop in biodiversity.
Rainforest Trust and local partner Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network seek $158,656 to establish the 7,067-acre Anaz Guassa Community Conservation Area. This area sits next to an adjacent protected area, and together the two sites will safeguard approximately 20,000 acres. This landscape will secure habitat for Endangered Ethiopian Wolves, as well as Geladas (baboons), African Wolves and other endemic and threatened wildlife in desperate need of protection.
Guassa Plateau, Ethiopia
Price Per Acre:
Key Species (Based on IUCN Red List):
White-backed Vulture (CR), Hooded Vulture (CR), Ethiopian Wolf (EN)
Rugged mountain plateau
Human encroachment, forest clearing, livestock grazing
Create the 7,067-acre Anaz Guassa Community Conservation Area that when combined with an adjacent protected area will collectively safeguard 19,038 acres
Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network
Total Carbon Storage (Mt CO2):
The Endangered Ethiopian Wolf is one of the world’s rarest canids, with less than 400 surviving in the wild.
About 10 percent of the remaining population relies on the proposed protected area. Researchers estimate that twelve wolves live in this region, and the new conservation area would connect this group with a group of nine wolves in an existing protected area. This will create a landscape capable of supporting around 40 Ethiopian Wolves. But protecting this specific subpopulation is also vital. Many of the species’ threats, such as rabies and hybridization with domestic dogs, haven’t yet reached these wolves. One of the major barriers to Ethiopian Wolf population growth is competition for food and territory. This species consumes rodents, making their habitat reliability dependent on rodent density. The proposed protected area has a high rodent density, ideal for supporting population growth. The area is also home to 20 other mammal species and 114 bird species (14 endemic to Ethiopia) and provides a wintering ground for 38 species of migratory birds.
The main threat to species in the Ethiopian highlands is habitat loss from human encroachment.
This is due in part to overgrazing and unsustainable use of natural resources such as firewood. Another major problem is human persecution of wolves for perceived livestock predation. It is vital to both protect the area and agree on a conservation management plan with input from all relevant stakeholders and land users.
No major human settlements are within the proposed area. But people use the land for livestock grazing and natural resource collection.
In the surrounding area, the local Amhara people cultivate barley and raise livestock in three major kebeles. These three communities will elect the board members, scouts and monitoring teams for the new protected area.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
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