Ethiopian wolf, Canis simensis, is among the most threatened carnivore species in Africa. Habitat loss and disease transmission threaten its survival. Our understanding of the wolf’s contributions to ecosystem services and economic benefits of its preservation is limited because there has been insufficient research on economic valuation. This study uses choice experiments to investigate preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for conservation programs among tourists travelling to the Bale Mountains National Park, one of the major
habitats for the wolf. Program attributes valued include size of the protected area, size of the wolf population, tourist access to wolf habitat and recreational facilities. A random parameter logit model is fitted to the data to account for heterogeneity in preferences. The results show that tourists WTP is up to Ethiopian Birr 130.81 (US$ 5.82)/day/trip for enhancement of the wolf population from 200 to 250 wolves, but very little beyond that level. The visitors are willing to pay for the increase of protected area and the ease of access to the wolf habitat. Visitors WTP is significantly influenced by prior visitor experience in other protected areas in Ethiopia and interest in viewing other unique species in the park. The findings suggest that non-use values must be taken into account in decisions on the nature and magnitude of more appropriate Ethiopian wolf conservation programs.
|Publication status||Published - 7 May 2018|