TOP
Wednesday,September 30,2020 22:52 PM

Crested Crane initiative launched

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th November 2004 03:00 AM

THE Crested Crane, Uganda’s national bird, may get a new lease of life following the launch yesterday of a nationwide initiative to conserve its rapidly declining population.

THE Crested Crane, Uganda’s national bird, may get a new lease of life following the launch yesterday of a nationwide initiative to conserve its rapidly declining population.

By Gerald Tenywa

THE Crested Crane, Uganda’s national bird, may get a new lease of life following the launch yesterday of a nationwide initiative to conserve its rapidly declining population.

State minister for environment Jeje Odongo, who presided over the function, warned against the persecution of the bird. The launch was at the St. Lawrence Schools’ London College on Masaka Road.
Odongo, who was accompanied by conservationists and New Vision Editor in Chief William Pike, said the Crested Crane was an emblem for Uganda and many Ugandan companies.

Odongo was concerned that that very little about where the bird occurs and breeds was still known.

“We know that they use seasonal wetlands for nesting, but we do not know which wetlands,” he said.

Odongo said six of the 15 global species occurred in Africa and Uganda harboured two of the only crowned cranes. The Crested Crane is also known as the Grey Crowned Crane.

“As the bird is our national emblem, Uganda should lead the world in its conservation,” he said.

But the population of the Crested Crane in Uganda has declined from 100,000 in 1973 to about 20,000 in 1986, according to Paul Mafabi, who heads the Wetlands Inspection Division in the Ministry of Environment.

Odongo attributed the decline to conversion of the seasonal wetlands, which cranes prefer most for breeding to agriculture, over grazing and fires.
He also blamed hunting of the Crested Crane and persecution by people.

“Populations are declining but nobody has good statistics on this because birds move around a lot,” Odongo said.

World Conservation Society (WCS) is spearheading the project known as the “Save the Crane,” in which school children would be engaged in a nationwide survey to count the cranes and their nests across the country. WCS chief Andrew Plumptre said the adult Crested Crane survives up to 40 years. He said most of them were not being replaced through breeding.

He said the crane’s population in Rwanda had declined due to the loss of nesting sites and the same could happen in Uganda.

A questionnaire has been placed in today’s New Vision and another will be circulated in the newsletter of the Wildlife Clubs of Uganda to help collect information.

“The more people who help in this, the better information we will have to help save this species,” Odongo said . He said the children should not tamper with the nests.

Pike said The New Vision would publish articles in its weekly columns on children and environment to highlight the plight of the Crested Crane and coverage of the progress of the survey.

He said various prizes including a trip to watch a football match between the national team, the Cranes, in March, were up for grabs for excelling children.

Other partners that would be engaged in the survey, which will run for 10 weeks, include Nature Uganda, the BirdLife International partner and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Crested Crane initiative launched

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author