International Birders Praise Uganda
Uganda receive the three prominent international birders recently, one is the organizer of the world’s largest bird fair in the UK called Tim Appleton, the other is Bill Thompson, the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, one of the most read North America’s birding magazines, and Dominic Mitchell, who is the founder and managing editor of Bird Watch, Europe’s leading monthly magazine. These three prominent international birders roomed the country, a first ever since the Big Birding Week started 11 years ago and paid glowing tribute to Uganda’s nature and proved that Uganda is really a pearl of Africa.
As he was speaking on the event, Appleton said that Uganda has the possibility to attract ten of thousand traveler’s whole over the world because Uganda is proved as a bird’s paradise with all most all types of birds. These entire where said during the launch of the big birding week at forest resort in Kasenge, Mukono district. He also noted that, ‘’Uganda has the highest population of birds not only in the east Africa but also in Africa, and not only seeing birds but birders also have the chance of seeing other mammals and primates like the gorillas on a gorilla safari and chimpanzees among others,’’. Appleton, however, noted that Uganda needs to improve its infrastructure if it is to attract more birdwatchers. He also added that Uganda needs more nice wide trails for better viewing of birds because there is no point in having small trails where if some in front of you sees a bird, the one behind misses it,” he said’’. He also asked the Uganda tourism board (UTB) to get involved in the UK Bird Fair, which, he said, attracted more than 22,000 people from 68 different countries annually.
Uganda is a God gifted country with very many species of birds and Uganda is considered the best safari destination for birders and it boosts of more than 1,057 species accounting for 11%of the globe’s total and 50%of Africa’s. The African bird club ranking Uganda as home to two of the top 10 birding sites on the continent. Bwindi impenetrable national park is ranked number one birding destination and Murchison falls national park in the ninth position. Nature Uganda in 2003 started the concept of the birding week which is developed into the big birding day, this came after seeing the potential that lies in birds. This year the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda Bird Guides’ Club, among others, partnered with Nature Uganda to organize the event which was so colorful.
Maria Mutagamba the minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities was represented by Rosemary Komutagi, the acting commissioner for tourism development in the ministry of Tourism. As she was speaking on the event, she said that very may bird species visiting Uganda had increased and this has resulted to the increase in the number of tourists who droop in to watch them in their natural habitat last year alone over 3,000 birders where registered in the country, according to Komutagi, spent $5,000 on average, bringing in $15 million. She urged tour operators to prioritize birds because they bring in more money than all the other tourism products. According to records she said, ‘’on approximation, each birder spends about 3 weeks on safari as compared to one week of a safari tourist’’
The executive director of nature Uganda Mr. Achilles Byaruhanga in his speech on the event said that despite the growing interest in birds and tourism in general, the number of birds is reducing, in the last 30 days over 90% that’s from 10,000 to 100,000 of the grey crown crane (crested crane), which is the country’s national symbol. “Although the interest is growing, we are losing the numbers. The challenge is matching the enthusiasm in bird watching to conservation,” he said. However he credited the decline to the fact that most of the birds are living outside the protected areas that’s on people’s private land, where they are easily killed. He said that there are over 34 birding areas according to the research carried out by Nature Uganda including Mabamba, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Murchison fall national park, queen Elizabeth National Park among others. He said also that some thing must be done to preserve birds because they can easily migrate since they don’t need visa to fly.