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Bird Life courts communities

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Birdlife Botswana has started a programme where communities are involved in conservation of endangered bird species while on the other hand they generate income through birdlife tourism.

Birdlife Botswana director, Dr Kabelo Senyatso said their organisation was formed after realising that some bird species were facing extinction due to challenges emanating from their environment. 

Dr Senyatso said on February 19 in Letlhakane when giving a brief on the anticipated launch of Botash support towards conservation that the Lesser Flamingo found only at Sua Pan was one of the rare bird species faced with extinction. It was therefore necessary to involve communities in the area in efforts to protect it.

He said through Birdlife Botswana, 600 different bird species had been identified at different locations in the country while 12 conservation areas had been established among them the Makgadikgadi pan where the Lesser Flamingoes bred.

Dr Senyatso said Birdlife Botswana had of recent involved the communities of Mosu, Mmatshumu, Mokubilo and Mmeya to come together and work towards conserving the Flamingoes. He said the people programme would help address environmental challenges that led to extinction of some bird species while on the other hand engage in community tourism projects.

He said with the assistance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Birdlife Botswana had established a Flamingo Sanctuary at their nesting area while Nata Bird Sanctuary was their feeding area. Dr Senyatso said the sanctuary was the first of its kind and would be run by the community. He said Botswana Ash had also joined in to help the community benefit from such a programme.

Dr Senyatso said the partnership programme would be launched on February 28 at Gaborone.

He said Community Based Organisations and Birdlife Botswana were equally faced by financial constraints to achieve their aim in birdlife conservation and as such the involvement of Private sector, such as Botash as would help in the long run.

Meanwhile Safety, Health and Environment manager from Botash, Mr Ewetse Mathaba said Sua Pan was host to the largest population of the Lesser Flamingo in Africa, and was also an important breeding site for Flamingoes in Southern Africa.

He said food availability in the area depended on seasonal flooding which in turn influenced water levels. In appreciation of this, Botash minimised operation around the pans and only kept to the operational areas which were away from the breeding and feeding areas, he said.

Mr Mathaba said reflectors had been installed on a power line that crossed the flight path of the flamingoes as they flew from their breeding site of the Pan to the feeding site to reduce accidents and death from collision with the powerline.

“As much as the core business of the company is to extract soda ash and salt, conservation of the flamingo population as well as other birds and animal species forms part of Botash business, ” he noted.

UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Anders Pederson Birdlife Botswana’s engagement of communities and other stakeholders in the Flamingo conservation. Mr Pederson said such a project would never turn succeed without the involvement of key stakeholders.

He said while looking at conserving endangered species there were key sectors of development that must also be taken as priority sectors. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : GABORONE

Event : meeting

Date : Feb 22 Fri,2013

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