Dati Wolel National park is among the few youngest protected areas in the western tropical forest belt of the country with a unique ecosystem and diversified faunal resources. The park was established in 1998 and it covers 431 square kilometers (166 sq mi). More than half of the area of the park is covered by wanted and followed by the woodland, and riverine forest covers the least. The park was initially designated as a controlled hunting area. However, as there was no well-established regulation for such activity associated with poor enforcement of the existing legislation, the mammalian resources were severely threatened. To correct these problems, the area was upgraded to the regional park level in 2008. and to the national park status with all the logistics in 2010. However, beyond the observational records, no attempts were made to assess the faunal diversity of the area, particularly of the most vulnerable larger and medium-sized mammals.
knowledge of faunal diversity records, their abundance, and the preferred habitats are basics for the status determination and to propose appropriate conservation measures. In particular, medium and large-sized mammals are intolerant for human interference and remain the best indicators for most isolated healthy habitats.
There around 28 mammalian species distributed in seven order and 14 families. of these, about 15% are the crested porcupine, stark’s here, bush hyrax, and rock hyrax were medium-sized mammals while the remaining 85% were large-sized mammals. Carnivora was represented by the largest number of families(Six) and species (11). More mammalian species was recorded for the families Cercopithecus. The families Procaviidae, Suidae, and Hyaenidae contained 2 species each. The remaining families were represented by single species.
Among the 28 species of mammals, Hippopotamus amphibius (hippopotamus) was the most abundant, comprising 44% of recorded individuals, followed by Syncerus caffer (African Buffalo), black-backed jackal, and honey badger also a part of the park.
Dati Wolel National Park has a unique ecosystem, being at the northwestern edge of the southwestern tropical forest of Ethiopia. the large extent of woodland savanna grassland, the Revenue forest associated with wetland from ideal habitats for medium and large-sized mammals. The mammalian diversity seems less probably because the list does not include all mammalian species especially medium-sized mammals as they can be overlooked and no special method is employed for them separately.
Dati Wolel National Park is unique in harboring the highest number of megaherbivores especially the African buffalo and hippopotamus relative to any of the parks in the country. The extensive grassland surrounding the wetland may contribute to the abundance. Some mammalian species like Warhog, Vervet monkey, Olive ban=boon, Common jackal including the African buffalo were considered more adaptive and recorded from all habitats in these mammals in all habitat types. However, some such as hippopotamus and common reedbuck have highly restricted distribution in different habitat types.
Species such as Honey badger and Black-backed jackal are considered vermin known for raiding goats, sheep, and poultry, as a result, they were prosecuted by humans. The adverse effect of livestock and human settlement on the distribution of wild animals has not been widely reported. The high number of mammalian species in woodland might be due to the movement of many species from the peripheral area towards the inner search of foods and covers as this habitat is most inaccessible for human activities and livestock. Dati Wolel National park is endowed with unique habitat with high potential of conserving biodiversity. The park contains diversified habitats suitable for eco-tourism for its flora and astonishing fauna.
Source Academic journal