PROFILE: Abebe Getahun

Part of the Biodiversity Crisis Curriculum Collection.


To help his government make decisions about conservation, Ethiopian biologist Abebe Getahun, lecturer at the Department of Biology, Addis Ababa University, is studying carp and other freshwater fish. “Introduction of exotic species, building dams, and channelizing watercourses are all problems that face the Ethiopian freshwater system,” he says.

As a young man, Getahun was impressed by the Swedish agricultural agents who came to help local farmers improve seed varieties and the husbandry of farm animals. As a result, he has studied in Ethiopia and abroad so that he can help to improve environments everywhere.

He earned his Ph.D. in biology under a joint program at the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation before he returned to Ethiopia.

He plans to write about the fish fauna of Ethiopia and to help form nature clubs to educate local children so they in turn may show their families ways to protect their natural resources.

“Students should be aware of other countries’ affairs, not just the problems of their home countries. One country’s problems affect other countries. There is no independence, especially when we consider biodiversity loss.”