Celebration of World Migratory Bird Day (May 9th – 10th, 2009) in Rwanda

Rwanda on Saturday May 9 joined the rest of the world to mark World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), with a big turn up of bird watchers. The celebration was organized by the Association for the Conservation of Nature in Rwanda, (ACNR), the BirdLife Partner in Rwanda, in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The highlight of the celebration marked under the theme, “Barriers to Migration” was bird watching excursion at a man-made Lake in Nyarutarama, on the outskirts of Kigali City.

Similar, on May 10th, 2009, bird watching excursion was carried out at Lake Rumira in Bugesera District in eastern Rwanda. This area is probably expected to be a habitat for migratory waterbirds in Rwanda.

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Birdwatching with birdlovers and nature club “Coeur joyeux”

Over 100 people attended the event including pupils and teachers from school Wildlife Club called “Coeur Joyeux” drawn from Anglican Church located near Kigali City Park, the representatives from some nature clubs affiliated to ACNR such as “Rwanda University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity (RUCCB)”, “Amis Muyaga” from ASPESKA College, journalists from print and broadcast, etc…
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During this celebration the “Coeur Joyeux” Wildlife Clubs played a sketch demonstrating local barriers to migratory birds in Rwanda including intensify agriculture activities, wetlands drainage and other activities related to ecosystems disturbance, etc.

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This awareness campaign was to protect migratory birds and their habitats. Annually, on the second weekend of May, people around the world organise public events such as bird festivals, education programmes and birdwatching excursions as part of activities to mark the World Migratory Bird Day. “This campaign had a major impact on how Rwandans perceive migratory birds and it has the potential to unite many different communities to rise against buriers met by migratory birds and humanitarian perils facing them today,” he added. Meanwhile, Birdlife International has launched a new programme called “Born to Travel Campaign” aimed at protecting migratory birds along the African-Eurasian flyway.

Also, this event has attracted more teams and spectators than ever before, including both government institutions, local NGO’s working in wildlife conservation and private sector. There has been a considerable effort to get more teams, including females and males, to participate, in the events. As this event has started to produce a significant contest of skills, awareness and friendship, we hope that the campaign will involve more people for the protection of birds and biodiversity in general in Rwanda. Actually, this year saw the arrival of several new teams of Kigali birdlovers.

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