Bale Mountains National Park, part of Ethiopia’s signature highlands, is home to species found in no other country on Earth, like the gelada baboon and Ethiopian wolf. Yet local communities rely on natural resources for their livelihoods, and encroachment from agriculture, grazing and settlement is shrinking the habitats of these species at unsustainable rates. Bale Mountain Lodge reduces the stress placed on the surrounding environment, providing alternative sources of income and establishing a community trust to engage local people in conservation.
Relative to its high biodiversity, Ethiopia’s budget for protected areas is insufficient. With financial and human resources stretched thin, the national wildlife authority has limited conservation capacity. By drawing tourists to Bale Mountains National Park, the lodge helps generate additional revenue, providing much-needed resources to bolster the wildlife authority’s capacity to manage the park.
With Ethiopia’s tourism growth rates more than twice as high as the African average, making conservation a norm for this sector would have a meaningful impact. Tourism facilities in Ethiopia’s national parks are limited, and high-quality accommodations are almost entirely absent. As the first high-end lodge within an Ethiopian national park, Bale Mountain Lodge has set the national standard for wildlife-based tourism. The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority intends to use the lodge’s agreement as a model for future tourism concessions in national parks.
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