Founded by 30 members in December 1989, the current number of members has reached to about 1000. The need for the formation of the Biological Society of Ethiopia was recognized as far back as the early 1970s. However, it took about 20 years of effort to bring the Society into being. Some of the notable individuals who had strived to achieve this are Dr. Fisseha H/Meskel, Dr. Tewolde Berhan G/Egziabher, Professor Shibru Tedla and other biologists from institutions of higher education and research. The following is an excerpt taken from the welcoming address of the then President of the Biological Society of Ethiopia, Professor Beyene Petros, during the inaugural conference of the Society:
“The awareness of the need for the formation of a nationwide Biological Society of Ethiopia stems from the common knowledge that professional isolation of the few scientists available in countries like Ethiopia, is a common phenomenon. If we review the history of science, it is full of instances where the research findings of scientists working in isolation from their professional peers had remained in obscurity for many years and the discoverers are given the due recognition only posthumously – An immortal example of such a case is the works of Gregor Mendel, the geneticist”.
One of the main concerns of the founders of the Society was that most of the biologists in Ethiopia, as in many developing countries, were professionally isolated – be it as teachers and lecturers in schools and universities or researchers in research and higher institutions. The reason for this was that most of the biologists did not have access to financial and administrative facilities to create and maintain relations with the outside scientific world, i.e., by becoming members of professional societies and by subscribing to journals. Furthermore, it was only a small number of biologists who had the opportunity of travelling abroad to participate in workshops and present their research findings.
The Biological Society of Ethiopia was formed at a critical moment when many issues related to biology were being raised. Among these are the conservation-development issue, population and food security, degradation of life support systems, loss of biological diversity and the like. To this end, the Society has been and is still organizing regular events where Ethiopian biologists and related professionals, interested in basic and applied research, as well as in education and environmental awareness, can deliberate on issues of common interest.