Working for birds in Africa


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 22:48 -- abc_admin

Sudan has signed a number of international treaties including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea and Ozone Layer Protection.

It has a large number of environmental issues which include inadequate supplies of drinking water, wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting, soil erosion, desertification and periods of drought.

Although Sudan has a number of designated National Parks and Game Reserves, the long running civil war in the south where many are located means that there is inadequate protection.

A leading NGO is the Sudanese Environmental Conservation Society (SECS), which was established in 1975 and has more than 80 branches across the country. The organisation can be reached by email [email protected].

Another contact is Ibrahim M. Hashim of the Sudanese Wildlife Society to be contacted through [email protected]. It is also useful to try to find expats interested in birdwatching. This can best be done by putting a note in the weekly edition of the Khartoum International Church bulletin or at UN offices.

Conservation News

27th February 2008: Sociable Lapwings tracked to Sudan

Two Sociable Lapwings Vanellus gregarius, satellite tagged in Kazakhstan last summer, have flown more than 5,000 miles to central Sudan, where they have spent the winter. Satellite tagging is adding rapidly to our understanding of the distribution of this Critically Endangered species outside the breeding season.

The birds left Korgalzhin in central Kazakhstan on August 3, 2007 and arrived at Viransehir, Turkey around October 8. They joined a flock of over 3000 birds - the largest assembly of the species recorded in over a century - before leaving Turkey in late October, arriving in Sudan on November 3.

The last sighting of Sociable Lapwings so far south in Africa was by Dr Mark Avery of the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), who saw a small flock in Kenya 20 years ago.

The tagging project began last year when scientists from the RSPB and Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) fitted satellite-tracking devices to three birds on their breeding grounds on the barren steppe expanses of central Kazakhstan.

Conservationists from the Sudanese Wildlife Society, part-funded by the UK government’s Darwin Initiative, will try to locate the Sudanese birds, count them and find out more about the sites they are using. Ibrahim Hashim, a Research Professor at the Sudanese Wildlife Society, said: "Finding these birds will not be easy because they are in a remote region where few people go. But that will benefit them because it means they should suffer little disturbance."

Dr Rob Sheldon, an ecologist with the RSPB, said: "The more we know, the easier it will be to improve their protection and help them increase their numbers."

Maxim Koshkin of Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK) added that better understanding of the migration and wintering patterns of this Critically Endangered species will enable conservationists to identify sites which need to be protected, to bring Sociable Lapwing back from the brink of extinction.

"We feel privileged to have these birds in Sudan and are very happy that we can play a part in increasing their numbers," said Professor Ibrahim Hashim. "These birds are now being protected on their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan and we hope very much to give them equal protection in Sudan."

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