Diversity of Large and Medium Sized Mammals and Their Challenges in Abay (Blue Nile) Gorge in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia
The diversity and threats of medium and large‐sized mammals was studied in Abay (Blue Nile) Gorge, Amhara Region, Ethiopia using direct and indirect survey techniques on transect lines crossing natural forest, riverine forest and woodlands. Footprints, camera traps and group discussions were used. Data were analyzed using detrended correspondence analysis, cluster analysis, non-metric multidimensional scaling, and diversity indices. A total of 25 medium and large mammal species belonging to 6 orders and 12 families were recorded. Order Carnivora was the most abundant followed by Artiodactyla, whereas Tubulidentata, Lagomorpha and Procaviida were rare. Leopard is threatened species. The plotting of the detrended correspondence analysis between mammal species and districts showed 61% on axis 1 and 22% on axis 2 and Gozamin district stood at the left side of the plot and Andabet, Enebise Sar Midir and Borena at the extreme right, contributing to the observed association. The mammal species were found lined up along axis 1, where Lycaon pictus and Reducna redunca were closely associated to Gozamin. The cluster analysis based on the Bray-Curtis single linkage similarity index showed differences and similarities between the mammals species composition recorded in the six districts. P. anubis, C. pygerythrus, S. grimmia, O. oreotragus, G. genetta, P. pardus pardus, H. hyaena, G. sanguinea, H. brucei, P. capensis, H. cristata stood out clearly separated from the rest of them and showed linkage at almost 50% similarity. The highest similarity (at about 96% similarity) was a cluster of four species, i.e., T. sylvaticus, T.strepsiceros, S. scrofa and K. ellipsiprymnus. Non-metric multidimensional scaling also gave clusters of similar districts but not mammal species. Species diversity (H′) ranged from low (1.1) to average (1.9). Anthropogenic impacts were associated with decline in abundance of species and populations. Conservation schemes (nature reserves) need to be launched as soon as possible.