Create a fund for Crested Crane conservation-Institutions told

By Chris Mugasha.

Environmentalists have challenged government institutions, private organizations and private companies which are using the Grey Crowned Crane as a symbol in their logos to establish a fund that targets to preserve it from facing extinction.

Some of these institutions include; the Uganda Police, UPDF, National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC), Uganda Human rights commission (UHRC), Uganda Law Society, FUFA, Uganda prisons, Bank of Uganda, Makerere university among others.

The environmentalists reached the decision recently during a workshop where they discussed; the species Strategic Action Plan for the conservation of the Grey Crowned Crane at Fairway hotel in Kampala.

“The above institutions used it (Crested Crane) as the most treasured symbol but they don’t care about it,” said Jimmy Muheebwa, the Nature Uganda crane and wetland conservation program officer. He added that, “they should have a corporate social responsibility designed to protect the Crested Cranes.” “If they are proud of it; what will they be proud of if it gets extinct?” he wondered.

Muheebwa said the Grey Crowned Crane are under threats of attacks like poisoning by the farmers, cross-border trading, wild fires, and degradation of wetlands for agriculture activities.

He said the above activities might lead to their extinction. According to statistics that Muheebwa presented, in 1960s the population for Grey Crowned cranes stood at 100,000 (one hundred thousand) before they declined to 50000 in 1980s while the current population stands between 10000-13000 which environmentalists described as a very big decline.

He said such a fund would help in restoration of wetlands which are their (Cranes) main habitats and also carryout Crested Crane friendly publicity campaign especially in schools.

Muheebwa said it is unfortunate Uganda uses the Crested Crane as a symbol on its court of arms but said some human beings are not their (Crested Cranes) friends.

He also want government to gazette some of the major wetlands and declare them as potential hot spots for tourism.

Muheebwa further noted that some tree species in major towns like Kampala have been destroyed which has affected the survival of Grey crowned Cranes. “They cannot climb the buildings,” he noted. He also noted that there is need for the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (UEDCL) to install reflectors on the power lines so that Cranes and other birds in the air don’t fall victims.

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Captions

1.Members of Make Bushenyi Great Again (MBUGA) monitoring one of the degraded wetlands. Wetlands are major habitat areas of the Crested Crane.

2. One of the degraded wetlands in Sheema district

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