Agriculture and Bird Conservation Collaborate for WMBD in Ethiopia

Posted on Mon, 29/07/2013

On the 17 and 18 of May 2013 the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS), MSB project partner in Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) jointly organized the celebration of the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The celebration of the event comprised two parts. The first part was a workshop held in Kaleb Hotel, Addis Ababa. A field trip to Lake Ziway was followed on the second day.

“Networking for Migratory Birds" workshop brought together 27 participants drawn from government, non- government, higher education and international institutions involved in environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and the use of pesticides in Ethiopia. The major objective of the workshop was to sensitize the challenges that migratory birds are facing in the agricultural sector through addressing the problem areas and giving practical explanations to the stakeholders and to exchange views and opinions to act together for the conservation of birds in general and migratory soaring birds in particular.

The session addressed through various presentations a multitude of key subjects such as the importance of bird migration as well as the impacts of agrochemicals on bird species and specifically migratory soaring birds. The workshop initiated a large deal of discussions and debates that resulted in recommendations and overall agreements on future steps such as the need to carry out analysis of data on the use and effects of pesticides on migratory birds in relation to agricultural intensification and disseminate the results to decision makers. Delegates from the Ministry of Agriculture briefly explained methods and action taken to reduce detrimental impacts such as prompt detection at an early stage of insects or locusts, to reduce the adverse effects of using pesticides in farmlands as well as setting up new rules and regulations to control pesticides usage. Finally, EWCA and EWNHS were delegated the responsibility, as leading organizations on conservation of birds, to collaborate with individuals and environmental organizations including universities to generate and gather information and facilitate exchange with decision makers.

Lake Zway field trip

On the 2nd day, participants were taken on a field trip to the impressive Lake Zway, one of two large freshwater lakes, in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Its avifauna is a major attraction to birdwatchers. The fish landing site in Zway town attracts a number of fish eating birds and holds more than 20,000 birds, and therewith, constitutes one of the best sites in Ethiopia to see African Fish Eagles and Black Egret. Lake Zway has a potential both with the presence of biological and cultural attributes to become a center for ecotourism activities in the future. Unfortunately, the lake faces several threats which are largely anthropogenic and the result of abuse or overuse of resources that stem from deforestation mainly for agricultural purposes, water abstraction and release of pollutants into the lake system. Agriculture pesticide used by a nearby flower farm and un-treated effluents are regularly dumped into the lake and pose great threats to its life form. This field trip had the merit to reflect quite clearly how unsustainable farming practices can jeopardize key and essential ecosystems that are currently providing services to our society.

For additional information on the event kindly contact EWNHS or RFF here

For additional information on World Migratory Bird Day kindly kindly visit their website http://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/

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