Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary
Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and wildlife sanctuary in southern Ethiopia. It is located in the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region west of the town of Yabelo, having an area of 2,500 square kilometers and elevations ranging from 1430 to 2000 meters above sea level.
The area of the Sanctuary is notable for its red soils which have little organic matter. The general vegetation-type is Acacia savanna, the major trees being A. drepanolobium on black cotton soil, and A. brevispica and A. horrida on the slopes. There are also patches of Balanites aegyptiaca, and several species of Commiphora and Terminalia at the lower altitudes. The higher parts of the hills were formerly covered with forest dominated by Juniperus procera and Olea europaea cuspidata. Endemic species of birds found in this protected area include Stresemann's Bushcrow and White-tailed Swallow.
Yabelo reportedly suffers from a great deal of deforestation, and illegal hunting of the spotted cats and ostrich is common. Some ex-servicemen have also settled within the sanctuary boundaries.
Unique features - The Sanctuary affords protection to the endemic Swayne‟s Hartebeest and is the home of the endemic and vulnerable Ethiopian Bush Crow and White-tailed Swallow. The Ethiopian Bush Crow and White-tailed Swallow are also restricted-range species. Other non-endemic but globallythreatened species includes the Taita Falcon. With 62 Somali-Masai Biome birds, the site affords protection to 64% of Ethiopia‟s Somali-Masai Biome assemblage. Other interesting birds found here include Ostrich, Short-tailed Lark, Pringle‟s Puff-back, Northern Grey Tit, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Vulturine Guinea fowl, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped SocialWeaver, Donaldson-Smith Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Grey-headed Social Weaver and Magpie Starling. The site is good for Burchell‟s Zebra and smaller numbers of Grant‟s Gazelle and Gerenuk.