Tag Archives: BirdLife international

Celebration of the World Migratory Bird Day 2011

This year 2011, ACNR in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Rwanda Birding Association (RBA) organized a joint event. With RDB on board this was the first celebration of WMBD on a national level in Rwanda.


The Programme

The celebration of World Migratory Bird Day 2011 in Rwanda had 3 components.
1) A preliminary round table discussion was broadcasted live on Rwanda TV onwmbd_2 Thursday 12th May 2012, featuring
– Mrs Rica Rwigamba, Head of theTourism and ConservationDepartment at RDB to present the standpoint of the government on bird conservation and tourism,
– Mr Serge Nsengimana, ACNR Executive Director to call for conservation of Birds and their habitats in general and migratory birds in particular and
– Mr Davidson Mugisha, President of RBA to talk on behalf of eco-tourism operators in Rwanda.
2) A press release on World Migratory Bird Day 2011 and the events in Rwanda was sent out to prominent media in Rwanda to advertise the celebration. The press release was coordinated by ACNR and RDB.
3) Sunday 15th May 2011 was the day for a big bird watching event, aiming at catching people’s interest in birds and their protection needs while at the same time introducing the newly developed Bugesera Birding Circuit. It brought together more than 100 participants including RDB, ACNR and RBA staff, bird guides, Nature Club students, community members, media, tour operators, some diplomats like the US Ambassador, government officials and general public.

The event was held in Bugesera District, south of Kigali. Participants were assembled in three Birding Groups for different birding sites; one to two guides were available for each group. After birding, participants met at Gashora La Palisse Hotel, for refreshments and short boat rides on Lake Rumira. Speeches were held by the following individuals:
– Davidson Mugisha as MC, as an introduction and information on avi-tourism in Rwanda.
– The Mayor of Bugesera District to welcome the event.
– Bird watching group representatives to talk about their impressions from bird watching.
– An ACNR representative to recite a poem on the World Migratory Bird Day.
– Rica Rwigamba to thank all participants for coming and invite for lunch.

ACNR initiated the creation of a paper bird sculpture. For this purpose every participant received a paper bird to write on it his personal impressions, ideas and wishes concerning WMBD. Afterwards all paper birds were collected and will be hung up in the RDB entrance hall in a shape of big bird, where more than thousand people pass every day, to give the event an even bigger range.
RDB provided logistics for all participants, including transport and refreshments while ACNR provided all necessary information on birds, posters, fact sheets, buttons for all participants etc. Guides and birding materials were shared by all organizing parties.

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Conclusion
World Migratory Bird Day 2011 in Rwanda can be called a success. The collaboration of three able institutions substantially increased the range and diversity of the event, despite the time pressure of preparation at the last minute and ACNR’s financial constraints. Feedback from the participants and also the organizing parties was throughout positive, showing that the event had left a mark in people’s minds and will leave them thinking about birds and the threats they face.

AFRICA: Climate Change will affect us Too!

Is Africa Prepared to deal with impacts of Climate Change?

No will be the correct answer to this question. Africa in general is overwhelmed with other problems. HIV AIDS, poverty reduction and political instability and general governance issues seem to take centre stage in Africa. To a large extent, it has been forgotten that all these have a direct relationship to the environment and impacts of climate change may make the situation worse. Sustainable economic development can not be achieved without realizing and incorporating the ecological component in all the strategies employed to deal with the problems developing economies and the world in general face.

However, hope exist! Concerned stake holders have realized the need to be actively involved in designing strategies to deal with the likely impacts of climate change. Using scientific modelling, they have modelled the likely climate change over the next 100 years. The situation is seriously worrying and a lot of effort is required to deal with it.Many species are projected to suffer a reduction in range size and a small proportion may go extinct completely.

Regal Sunbird, an Albertine Rift endemic and a species predicted to move altitudinally due to climate change

One of the most important things now is concerted efforts in scientific research, involving african conservationists/researchers and then followed by policy makers and implementers. Such (pioneering) research to help biodiversity survive the impacts of climate change across Africa was announced at a workshop in held in Kigali, Rwanda between 9th and 11th July 2008 and hosted by the Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (BirdLife in Rwanda) on behalf of the BirdLife Africa Partnership. The workshop brought together the BirdLife Africa Partnership, RSPB, Durham University (UK), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

The project mapped the current and future distributions of all bird species on mainland Africa by using climate change models to determine the distance and direction of shifts for each species in the future.

A particular emphasis of the work was understanding how well the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) network in Africa can sustain the continent’s bird with future climate change. Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International’s Regional IBA Manager for Africa, said “There are very few plans to protect biodiversity from the effects of climate change anywhere in the world. BirdLife International is leading the drive to develop strategies to protect our unique wildlife for future generations.”

“BirdLife International is leading the drive to develop strategies to protect our unique wildlife for future generations” -Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife’s Regional IBA Manager for Africa

More detailed analysis is being carried out within the Albertine Rift region of Africa to identify actions that will increase the resilience of the IBA network to future climate change.

The workshop in Rwanda brings together governments, academic institutions, NGOs and local community from Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which are included within the Albertine Rift mountains complex.

Dr Steve Willis, a lecturer at Durham University’s Environmental Change Research Group, and a leading expert on climate change modelling commented: “In the Albertine Rift, our models project that species will move upwards altitudinally, and clearly the higher up a mountain you go, the less land area there is. We need to start acting now to prevent these unique species disappearing altogether.”

The main challenge is to try to protect the birds where they are now and at the same time to help them to follow a shifting climate. We need to start planning their conservation in areas where they currently do not even occur. The problems are huge but we cannot simply sit back and watch our natural heritage disappear,

Important Bird Areas are essential for the livelihoods of many people in Africa, and are the backbone of the tourism industry, a major source of revenue for African economies. Most of these areas are also key reservoirs for water and pollinators and so their protection is an important component of adaptation to climate change in other fields such as agriculture, demography, energy, and urbanisation.

3-D representation – looking north “up” the Albertine Rift – of the modelled distribution of Regal Sunbird Nectarinia regia for a) the present; b) 2025, and; c) 2085. The red indicates areas with suitable environmental condition for the species. The grey scale background is a digital elevation, with light grey representing higher altitudes.