Simien Lodge

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About Simien Lodge

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    Advanced Member

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    Lodge Owner/Manager
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    Conservation, community development in Ethiopia, flying, mountains sports

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  1. @carienduplessis "le bienvenue?" What he thinks you are a man?

  2. @GuyVerhofstadt I wish too, but unfortunately that's not what's happening. If the polls are right more Brits actual…

  3. Trump's son has same arrogance as his Dad and absolutely no understanding of how things work in the UK

  4. I have written a blog about the state of wolves in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia. As far as I believe the information is accurate but I stand corrected if anything is false. I'm not a biologist or a scientist - I'm a lodge owner. But from what I have seen and heard, I believe this to be accurate and somewhat alarming. Secondly I have been talking to Adam Welz, a wildlife media expert from SA. I have not yet met Adam but will do at the Conservation Lab later this month. We have been wondering whether any Tora Hartebeest are still alive or whether this species is extinct? There have been no reports for over ten years in Ethiopia. Can anyone shed any light on what has happened to this beautiful species?
  5. If you find a good Ethiopian restaurant in London or New York, then you can be sure that five others will open in the same street. Ethiopians are copy-cats. I guess that after 20 years of communism and donkey's years of feudalism, there is not much credit given for entrepreneurial thinking. So when we heard that there had been 14 applications to build in the national park then we were dismayed. Last year, following pressure from UNESCO, two hundred families were persuaded, with financial incentives, to move from the core area of the park to a local town. The Simiens were the second World Heritage Site to be named in the world. Yellowstone was the first back in 1976. Ethiopians are very proud of this and there are actually 9 heritage sites in the country, the most in Africa. Last month one of the promotors came to receive his land. Building land is given by government in Ethiopia - it is not owned outright. Immediately the people in the local town protested claiming that their families were being moved from the park to allow the developers in. The upshot is that plans have ceased and now nobody is set to destroy the core area of this amazing park. Simien Lodge, whilst having nothing to do with this movement, has worked hard with the local community since its inception. Currently we are building 8 classrooms outside the park to attract the people to live away from the core areas. We work with the local people and encourage them to protect wildlife through meetings and a fair exchange for their support. Maybe our conservation work has paid off in our favour? Certainly we are delighted that these building plans, which would have destroyed the prime area of the park, are not going ahead.
  6. Time to take that much wanted trip to Ethiopia? There are a variety of different things to see, especially in the north of the country. In the Atalash national park in the north west of the country, a hundred lions have recently been discovered that were not previously known to exist. Not far away in the Simien mountains, the Ethiopian Wolf is maintaining in numbers (also at just over 100) but they are susceptible to rabies. Trips are best planned when there are not too many tourists. September is good, as is mid-december. April and May are also good when most European visitors prefer to be back in Europe for the spring. If you want to come to the Simiens then I will be pleased to assist with any advice needed. I have been working there for ten years. Nick Crane, Simien Lodge
  7. Thanks Atravelyn. Interesting comments. In most countries of the world there are advertising standards but not , I guess, in Romania. The tourism industry is being 'abused' by these phony tourism associations. It is a pity because it debases the genuine ones like Skal and WTM.
  8. We though that we were good enough to take on the best. You know them, the fabulous lodges in South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana. It is tough for Ethiopia to compete with these fabulous destinations. So we have been delighted this year to come second in the World Travel Market Awards in the Cape, and runner up in Skal International in Malaga. We were a finalist in the We are Africa awards last week. We did not win but we were delighted to even be competing. However any country that wants to be declared "Best Tourist Destination" doesn't have to wait very long. There is a place in Romania who will declare that for you - presumably for a small fee. You can tell when things are dodgy - check out the exaggerations and the spelling mistakes : "European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) is the greatest European and regional tourism organization representing a market of 800 millions costumers from all around Europe with members and delegations in 27 countries." Then there are British Newspapers who will declare you a top safari lodge. Well actually a Russian owned newspaper now. So how can we keep our industry 'clean' so that the safari customer gets what he sees advertised? Are the real international tourism awards being overshadowed by advertisers and fakes? We don't mind coming second to better lodges in other countries. But we don't want our country to be portrayed as something it is not. It has plenty going for it without fake promotions.
  9. Many of you will remember Mike McCartney's posting in February. I now have the official press release from EWCP published yesterday, (the first since the outbreak began). It is not happy reading. If anyone can offer help, then please do make contact. ETHIOPIAN WOLF CONSERVATION PROGRAMME PRESS RELEASE Addis Ababa, 5th May 2016 The population of endemic Ethiopian wolves in their stronghold of the Bale Mountains has been halved by an epidemic of Canine Distemper Virus that spilled-over from domestic dogs (to) Ethiopian wolves, the most endangered of all African carnivores, teeter on the brink of extinction. In their stronghold in the Bale Mountains wolves live in close contact with people. Whilst this coexistence is encouraging, it places the wolves at great risk of catching diseases from domestic dogs used to herd livestock. The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP), in partnership with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), has been actively protecting the wolves in Bale Mountains since 1988. In July 2015 Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) was detected in the abundant population of domestic dogs surrounding wolf habitat in the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP). By September 2015 CDV had spilled-over to the wolves, and many died between then and March 2016. In total the carcasses of 30 wolves were found in the Web Valley, the Sanetti Plateau and East Morabawa, three core populations intensively monitored by EWCP and BMNP staff. An additional 31 adult wolves are unaccounted for from 19 wolf packs, representing an average decline of 52% in these populations, when compared with the estimated size of these populations in March 2015. As a result, there are currently an estimated 130 adult Ethiopian wolves surviving in Bale Mountains (not including the pups born during the year). This is just about half of a population of 250 adults that would live in Bale in normal circumstances. “The situation is dire. Although some 200 Ethiopian wolves live in other populations in the Simien, Arsi, Wollo and Menz, the Bale Mountains remain the stronghold for the survival of this emblematic canid and their survival relies in the effective management of disease risks in the future. For that purpose, EWCP, BMNP, Frankfurt Zoological Society and EWCA are working together on an integrated disease management plan to tackle the risk of disease, which we hope to implement soon in the Bale Mountains”, said Professor Claudio Sillero, EWCP founder and director. What happened? EWCP wolf monitors found the first carcass on 30th September in the Web Valley, and CDV was swiftly confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the UK. Intense monitoring found that wolves in Morabawa to the south were also dying, with two carcasses found in October. By January, the virus had reached the wolves in the Sanetti Plateau. The wolves in Bale were recovering from a rabies outbreak in 2015, and as a result most wolves were protected against rabies, but that did not prevent CDV infection. The last dead wolf was found in March, and observations by EWCP wolf monitors pack composition have stabilized, with many pups surviving the epidemic. CDV is highly virulent, and progressed slowly across the Bale population, as opposed to rabies that spreads like wildfire. In the past rabies had been contained by capturing and vaccinating wolves, an expensive and difficult task, but successfully accomplished. EWCP had been trialling a CDV vaccine when the outbreak unleashed. Once permission was granted in February, EWCP was able to extend the CDV vaccination trial to assess its efficacy in protecting wolves in Chafadalacha, east of Sanetti. This vaccination campaign is ongoing. In the meantime the BMNP, FZS and EWCP are continuing an awareness campaign with the woredas and local communities in and around the BMNP to control the dog population. What’s next? Protecting Ethiopian wolves from infectious diseases requires an integrated approach, the involvement of several partners and strong political support. Such a plan has been proposed by EWCP and is currently under consideration by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. The integrated disease management plan proposed will fight the scourge of disease in many fronts, from excluding domestic dogs from the National Park, vaccinating dogs and the use of preventive vaccination to protect the wolves themselves. After successful trials, EWCP and its partners are ready to implement a widespread preventive oral rabies vaccination in the now fragile Bale population, pending approval of this plan. Developing ways to prevent CDV infection is also a priority and trials are already under way. More information The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) is a WildCRU (, University of Oxford endeavour in partnership with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and the Regional Governments. The Born Free Foundation ( and Wildlife Conservation Network ( are the main donors that enable EWCP to protect the world's rarest canid. EWCP has been actively protecting the wolves in Bale Mountains since 1988. E: T +251 911 864698 (Eric Bedin) T +251 911 064898 (Edriss Ebu) T +44 1865 611113 (Claudio Sillero)
  10. Blue skies and good food for the Tribe (We are Africa) at Simien Lodge this week. Nice to see that the Tribe is discovering Ethiopia.
  11. The fabulous lammergayer. Easily seen in the Simiens. Well say, about after an hour's wait for one to fly along the escarpment.
  12. The latest information that I have is that there are probably now only 80 to 100 wolves in Bale and about the same number in the Simiens.
  13. I have been emailing to Neville Slade (FZS) this evening to get an up to date assessment of the numbers of wolves left in Bale. He reckons between 80 to 100. That brings the numbers to around about the same number that we have in Simiens meaning that there are probably no more that 200 Ethiopian wolves left alive today. The way to save them is quite simple - Get the domestic dogs out of the national parks. Does anyone have the Prime Minister's phone number.?
  14. Depends on what you call Big Game. In the Simiens in Ethiopia we have leopard and they are found up to 13000ft. More info on Simiens here; But plenty of gelada, walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf. Ah, but plenty of chatter right now on Safaritalk about the loss of the wolves in bale.
  15. This report was on EBC radio this week. The people talking are Neville Slade of FZS and Yvonne Levene of Bale Lodge. I think that it confirms generally what Mike McCartney has been reporting. On the 19th of February I offered UNESCO in Addis the free use of Simien Lodge for a conference on the situation in Bale and also in the Simiens. The fundamental problems are the same. Excessive grazing and domestic dogs in the parks. Initially my contact at UNESCO was very positive but has since declined quoting 'sensitive issues' that have not been explained to me. My view is that we can argue about the numbers until the cows come home but the bottom line is that there are very few wolf left. I know Mike McCartney well. I will see if he wants to add anything to the forum. He has rather good credentials and he certainly knows his way around Africa;

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