Gambella — Activities carried out to reduce illegal hunting enabled to increase the number of wild animals in Gambella National Park, the Park Office said.
Office Head, Bantayehu Wasyihun told ENA that integrated activities of the Park and the public helped to control illegal hunting.
The head said the number of wild animals is now double that of the number four years before.
The park is the second largest in Africa next to the one in Tanzania.
Bantayehu said infrastructure development is underway to make the park comfortable tourist destination.
Tourist flow has been low in the park due to lack of adequate infrastructure and failure to promote the park.
Some 69 species of mammals are protected in the park including predator animals such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, roan, sable buffalos and elephants. Several hippos clog river Baro in hundreds. The park is particularly well known for the large herds of Kafue Lechwe, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Greater Kudu, bushbuck, oribi, reedbuck and waterbuck, among others.
Some 327 bird species have been recorded in Gambella including seasonal migrant birds. Gambela bird species are the key highlight of any excursion in the park. The birds are both plentiful and easy to spot. Species present include pelicans, thousands of Carmine Bee-eaters which commonly nest together, Crowned Cranes yelling in flocks, storks and vultures which colour the sky. Present also are about 40 raptor species.
More than 490 plant species are also available in the park, which covers an area of 4,570 square kilo meters.
Gambella National Park is situated about 600km from Addis Ababa along River Baro.
River Baro is a natural magnet for the several water birds acting as a migrant trap for the birds flying along the river.
Ethiopia is home to several national parks including the Semien Mountains , Abijatta-Shalla, Awash, Bale Mountains, Mago, Nechsar, Omo and Gambella National Parks, among others.