November 24, 2016

2879 ETHIOPIA - Simien National Park (UNESCO WHS)

2879 Walia ibex in Simien National Park

Simien National Park covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia. It 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, the Gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf.

Walia ibex (Capra walie), also known as the Abyssinian ibex, is an endangered species of ibex, sometimes considered a subspecies of the Alpine ibex. Threats against the species include habitat loss, poaching, and restricted range; only about 500 individuals survived in the mountains of Ethiopia, concentrated in the Semien Mountains. The adult walia ibex's only known wild predator is the hyena. However, young ibex are often hunted by a variety of fox and cat species.

The ibex are members of the goat family, and the walia ibex is the southernmost of today's ibexes. In the late 1990s, the walia ibex went from endangered to critically endangered due to the declining population. These animals have a chocolate-brown to chestnut-brown coat coloration, greyish-brown muzzle, and a lighter grey in the eyes and legs. The belly and insides of the legs are white, and black and white patterns stretch upon the legs of these animals.

The males weigh 80-125kg and have very large horns which curve backwards, reaching lengths up to 110cm. The males also have distinguished black beards. Females, smaller and lighter in color, also have horns, but shorter and thinner. Walia ibex live in herds ranging from five to 20 animals. However the older, more mature males are often more solitary, though they will remain within a short distance of the main herd most times and during the mating season and rejoin with the herd for breeding purposes.

About the stamps
The stamp, depicting Menelik's Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus Menelik), is part of a definitive series, about which I wrote here.

References
Simien National Park - UNESCO official site

Walia ibex - Wikipedia

Sender: Adam Wole (direct swap)
Sent from Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa / Ethiopia), on 21.10.2016
Photo: Nievergelt

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