Yangudi Rassa National Park
Yangudi Rassa National Park is located in the Afar Region, its 4730 square kilometers of territory include Mount Yangudi near the southern border, with altitudes from 400 to 1459 meters above sea level. Sandy semi-desert and wooded grassland cover the majority of the park's area. This Park lies between the territory of the Afars tribe and the Issas tribe, and while violence has been frequent between them, most of the park happens to be in an area where they avoid each other. As a result, most of the active protection of the Park is focused on managing their conflict.
This national park was proposed to protect the African Wild Ass. Recently, the Wild Ass went extinct in Yagundi Rassa. However, there is a small population in the adjacent Mile-Serdo Wild Ass Reserve (8,766 km²). The park headquarters are in the town of Gewane. Large animals native to the park include Beisa Oryx, Soemmering's gazelle, gerenuk and Grevy's zebra. Bird species of interest include Phoenicopterus minor, Petronia brachydactyla and Ardeotis arabs.
A large part of the park is composed of extensive grasslands and thickets. With an average altitude of 500 masl, the climate of the park is hot and dry for a larger part of the year. It has an estimated area of 5,400 sq km and is covered with grasslands, bush and thorn thickets. Besides these major habitats, dry river beds, rocky hills and sandy semi-deserts formmicro-habitats. Thickets are largely composed of Acacia mellifera and A. nubica. The Awash River forms its western boundary where better vegetation growth can be observed. Temperature can rise to 42 - 43 ºC in the shade. Rains are bi-modal with the main rainy season extending from October-December. An erratic pattern of rainfall is expected from August to September. The park is in a major flyway for migrant birds coming from the northern hemisphere from September to January. In this respect, the Awash River plays a critical role sustaining the lives of millions of southbound sojourning birds.
Unique features - Yangudi Rassa is an extensive wilderness in this remote northeastern partof the country. More than 200 birds have been recorded here. Of these, no less than 23 Somali-Masai Biome species and two globally threatened species, namely, the Lesser Kestrel and Pallid Harrier are know to occur in the park. It is an important flyway for species like the Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black Cap and Ortolan Bunting. This protected area also has 36 species of mammals including Wild Ass, Beisa Oryx, Dorcas Gazelle, Hamadryas Baboon, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Striped Hyena and Aardwolf.