The bale mountains national park was established in the early 1970th and was nominated in 2009 to the world heritage tentative list. Bale Mountains national park IS A NATIONAL PARK IN ETHIOPIA WITH ONE OF THE HIGHEST INCIDENES OF ANIMAL ENDEMICITY OF TERRISTERIAL HABITAT IN THE WORLD. the park is known for being home to the largest populations of both the ENDEMIC AND ENDANGERED ETHIOPIAN WOLF/canis simiensis/and Mountain Nyala /Tragelaphus Buxtoni/ as well as the endemic Bale monkey /CHLORECEBUS DJAMDJAMENSIS and GIANT MOLE RAT/tachyoryctes macrocephalus/. The endangered painted hunting dog Lycaonpictus once existed in the park but may now be extirpated due to human population pressure in the region. CURRENTLY, the park’s total surface is about 2150 km2 and it is divided into five vegetational zones. Each of these zones has its own characteristic flora and fauna.
1. NORTHERN GRASSLAND
The northern grass land is a small area spanning the Gaysay River, just to the north of Gaysay Mountain and the Adelay ridge and the north west of Dinsho. The area lays 3OOO and 3500M around the upper limit of tree growth. With the area around the head quarter of bale mountains national park the northern grass land represent the best area to see mountain Nyala.
2. NORTHERN WOODLAND
These woodlands cover the northern slopes of the bale massif extending from Dodola to Dinsho. The upper limit for the trees is 3400m with a lower limit of about 3OOOM. The woodlands are dominated by two species, hygenia abyssinica, and Juniperus procera. The junipers are by no means as large as this species can grow as here they are at the upper limit of their distribution.
3. ERICACIOUS ZONE
Immediately above the tree line lis a belt of heather that is made up of spices of the Erica and phlippa genera but which is dominated by Erica Arborea. The heather zone is lies between 3400 and3800 M.the heather can grow to over5m in height.
4. SANNATTIE PLATEAU (THE LARGEST AFRO ALPINE HABITAT IN AFRICA)
Above the heather moorlands are the afro alpine meadows and heather moorlands .Although the plant diversity is low variation is determined by the slope drainage exposure and soil of these areas. One of the notable plant species on the afro alpine plateau and the exception to the rule that plant size is reduced at higher altitudes is the giant lobelia .The species is found from 3100 to 4377 m but the largest individuals are found at the higher altitudes.
The afro alpine rodents, mice rat and mole rats dominated these cold and seemingly barren plateau due to their ability the bad weather by living underground .they are at staggeringly high densities in the afro alpine meadows. at most the rodent densities rich about 4000kg/km2 but average around 2500kg/km2.This is equivalent to the large mammal / including the 1.5 million Wild beets and 200 thousand plains zebras/density recorded in the mara Serengeti ecosystem in east Africa . Among the 17 species of rodents present in the bale mountains, 11 are endemic to Ethiopia. Most notable is GIANT MOLE RAT which is a bale endemic. The giant mole-rats eat on ground-level vegetation around the entrance to its borrow system.
5. SOUTHERN HARENNA FOREST
The harenna forest comprisesthe southern and largest end of the park .it remains enigmatic and little is undersood about the region and history .In a distance of just 28 km from sannattei plateau falls away from over 4000 m rapidly at first down the harenna escarpment. then through the forest to 1500 m at the southern extend of the park .when descending the harenae scarpment one firs come across stands of giant heather _ a fairytale wood with old man’s beard.