Grey crowned crane face extinction threat – RBD
Though the government of Rwanda believes that birding is the next move for promoting tourism, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has reported that the Grey crowned crane is one of the birds that face extinction due to human activity.
The agency reports that at least about 500 Grey crowned cranes have been over the past 10 years extinct and just about 500 remain. This has been attributed illegal removal of the birds from their natural habitants- especially the wetlands.
Though a Ministerial Order No. 007/2008 of 15/08/2008 hinders anyone from domesticating, selling or collecting the grey crowned cranes’ eggs. Apparently, some of the Grey crowned cranes have been noticed in touristic sites and hotels around Kigali and in the countryside.
Telesphore Ngoga, the head of the conservation division at the Rwanda Development Board says that this a major threat to the bird watching sub-sector and the tourism industry in general and if nothing is done, the fouls will be extinct in the next few years.
Ngoga says that penalties, according to the law, will be taken on whoever keeps the birds illegally or collects them or their eggs from the wild.
Other birds that are under extinction threat include: Red-collared Babbler, Albertine Owlet (both are only [found] endemic in Rwanda), Ladgen’s Bushshrike, Neumann’s Warbler, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Kungwe Apalis and the Purple-breasted Sunbird.
Most of these birds are found in Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe national parks, Gishwati Forest, and in Rugezi, Akanyaru and Nyabarongo swamps.
At least seven sites, covering 274,535 hectares (10 per cent of the size of the country) have been gazette as Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Bird watching is a new trend in Rwanda’s tourism and this will expected to add value to the tourism sector.