Haramaya University (HrU), Office of the Research Affairs in collaboration with Oromia Environmental Protection Authority (OEPA) conducted a workshop at Harar City on December 28, 2021 to raise stakeholders’ awareness about  Kundudo Feral Horse Breed, Ethiopia’s most endangered horse species.

The objective of the workshop was to raise key stakeholders’ awareness twards sustainable conservation and utilization strategies. The participants of the workshop were representatives of HrU, Oromia, East Hararghe Zone, Jarso and Gursum woredas Environmental Protection Authorities, East Hararghe Zone Administration Office, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute of Harar Biodiversity Centre, religious leaders, and Aba Gadas.

Mr., Dawud Mume, a wildlife genetic resource development and conservation expert from the OEPA, said that, as a result of recent work, the number of horses has increased from 9 to 28 in the last seven years despite the risk of extinction. However, as this is not enough, he said, raising public awareness and protecting the environment are essential for the survival of the horses.

Alika Nesreddin, head of East Hararge Zone Environmental Protection Authority, said the number of wild horse species in Ethiopia has dwindled to four. Horses on Kundudo mountain (A mountain in part of Gursum and Jarso districts, Eastern Hararge, Ethiopia  and  home to a number of attractions including forest horses) , which are said to be more than a century old, are said to be under increasing protection . This horse species is found in Ethiopia alone outside Namibia.

After welcoming the participants by representing Haramaya University, Dr. Diribachew Bakena, director of Research Groups and Partnerships, indicated the University’s readiness to innovate a problem solving stratagy through research to sustainably protect Kundudo Feral Horses environment.

Dr. Diribachew additionaly explaind that it is also believed that the result of concerted efforts of the community and stakeholders will enable the Kundudo Feral Horse to become a source of income from tourism in the future. Currently there are a total of 28 horses, 16 males and 12 females on Mount Kundudo.

General discussion and reflection were also conducted to get comments and feedback from the participants. Among the participants, Nejib Mohamed Omar and Ayisha Usmael, from Dey Feres and Bedasa Kebeles of Gursum and Jarso woredas respectively, said , “We did not exert our effert so far to preserve the species due to a lack of awareness about the value and benefits we gaine from the conservation.” They added that the knowledge they gained from the workshop will help them to influence their peers and work together with the community on the ground to protect and conserve Kundudo Feral Horse Breed.

The work shop organized to save Kundudo Feral Horse breed , in general, overviewed role of the community in the process of cooperation, watershed management and land use planning in and around Kundudo mountain, sustainable utilization and management of biodiversity in and around Kundudo mountain, the Kundudo Feral Horse health management, and recent activities and achievements of stakeholders including HrU, OEPA and Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute in conserving the Kundudo Feral Horse.