Ethiopia - Supported since 2006
Since 2006, BWF has supported the Murulle Foundation, a Colorado-based non-profit organization that is actively engaged in scientific research and sustainable conservation of the mountain nyala and its critical habitat. The mountain nyala is one of the most highly prized big game species in Africa, and safari hunting plays a vital role in conservation and management.
In recent years, researchers have portrayed a dismal picture of the status of this species by greatly underestimating its population and distribution. These claims have caught the attention of conservation groups, resource managers, scientists and policy makers worldwide, and the inaccuracies have fueled anti-hunting sentiments aimed to disrupt sustainable management and conservation policies initiated by the Ethiopian Wildlife Department. Paul Evangelista, who has recently been recognized by the IUCN as one of the world's few authorities on the mountain nyala, has compelling scientific evidence that shows mountain nyala populations have previously been greatly underestimated because the range of the species and certain behavioral characteristics were never fully understood. Mountain nyala populations are actually much higher than recent reports have led authorities to believe.
Mapping the potential habitat and distribution of the mountain nyala is one of the Murulle Foundation’s top priorities. The full range of the species has never been adequately defined, and international wildlife conservation groups still underestimate the total population. Policies based on these estimates threaten to undermine Ethiopia’s sustainable wildlife management programs. Not only does this threaten the future of mt. nyala safari hunting, but it ultimately threatens the future existence of the species outside protected areas.
The results of this research will be shared with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the international scientific community with the goal of facilitating the designation of protected wildlife areas in Ethiopia and guiding management activities.