Crested Cranes Killed: A national bird killed in Lwengo District
Nature activists and Leaders of Lwengo District are standing in worry about the increased killing of the Crested Cranes birds. There is an identified rampant killing of the bird of national significance by the locals in particular farmers, especially during the sowing seasons.
A survey by the Civil Society Organization in Lwengo and the district leaders indicated that between January to October of this year 2012, at least 108 crested cranes had been killed by natives in particular those who cultivate in wetlands.
About 8 months this year the same survey was done and at least 60 crest cranes were killed in various wetlands in Lwengo district which was revealed by the International Crane Foundation.
Mr. Gilbert Tayebwa, the coordinator of the International Cranes Foundation in the greater Masaka sub-region, there is an urgent need to protect the crested cranes or risk facing extinction.
Tayebwa said “We are worried that the cranes are being killed at this rate and the situation is always worse during planting seasons when farmers poison the cranes claiming that they destroy their crops, but we are going to embark on sensitizing locals to stop killing these precious birds,”
He promised that they are going to count all crested crane birds in Lwengo district as a way to secure their safety, and sensitizing locals on how they can co-exist with the birds, as they can be used as a tool to boost tourism in the district if they are protected.
The district authorities are viewing the tourism potentials as a one-way package to open the tourism of the district. By this, the District authorities confirmed that they are working closely with other tourism players to plan to develop the tourism sector as their alternative source of revenue.
Mr. Ibrahim Kitata, Lwengo District chairperson said, “The district is working with several players to protect crested cranes in the district and wetlands since if these places are protected, they can get us extra money when people visit Lwengo to watch them”.
The threat of the Crest Cranes
The April report by the International Crane Foundation (ICF) that people have ignorantly encroached on wetlands especially of Kiyanja-Kanku the breeding grounds for the cranes, destroying their eggs as well killing the birds claiming they are eating their crops.
The report showed that the number of cranes has greatly declined by 80% in at least 40 years and warmed if this is not worked on we shall lose the species for good.
In 2013, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) listed the crested cranes among the most endangered species, needing special conservation focus.
The ICF declined that they came up with various guidelines to protect the cranes of which are not followed.
The guidelines include; monitoring the supply routes of cranes, from the source of capture to final destinations, creating local, national, and international awareness on the status of Africa’s resident cranes and the threat that trade poses to wild populations.
How special is a crested crane in Uganda?
A crested crane is a bird of national significance to Uganda, occupying a prime position on the Uganda national flag and coat of arms.