Langebaan Lagoon saved from port expansion project
Situated in western Kenya near Lake Victoria and the Ugandan border, the Bunyala Rice Scheme is a heavily irrigated area which provides ideal growing conditions for rice. This water-logging also creates suitable feeding habitat for both non-breeding migratory and resident birds, which are being targeted by local people who view the meat as a delicacy.
“Albatrosses and petrel populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea are undergoing some of the most severe decreases anywhere in the world”, said Dr Cleo Small - Senior Policy Officer for the BirdLife Global Seabird Programme, based at the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).
More than 40 fishing nations are members of ICCAT, and they gathered recently in Recife, Brazil for the annual meeting of the commission. Collectively they control longline fishing effort in the Atlantic Ocean that is conducted on a massive scale.
The workshop was organised under the framework of a project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, which aims to sustain and secure capacity for biodiversity conservation in the Upper Guinea Forest of West Africa. Extending from Guinea to Togo, this is one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots, with more than 15 endemic bird species.
In a dramatic day in Barcelona, UN officials were forced to step in after 55 African countries, in an unprecedented show of unity, called for a suspension of all further negotiations on the Kyoto protocol until substantial progress was made by rich countries on emission cuts.
Earlier, the UN chair had been forced to abandon two working groups after the Africa group refused to take part.
"In global terms, things continue to get worse – but there are some real conservation success stories this year to give us hope and point the way forward", said Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife's Director of Science and Policy. Of the world's 9,998 birds, 137 are Extinct or Extinct in the Wild, with 192 Critically Endangered, 362 Endangered and 669 Vulnerable.
Until recently, it was believed the species migrated east through the Mediterranean, then south via the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa to Madagascar, where 70% of the global population is estimated to converge in the winter. However, the new studies used satellite transmitters to show that these birds reach their destination by flying right across the centre of the African continent. Other secrets uncovered include the finding that they migrate by both day and night, crossing huge barriers such as the Sahara Desert.
Three-quarters of the world’s Lesser Flamingo population lives in East Africa, and Lake Natron is by far their most important breeding site. In 2007, the Indian-based multinational company, Lake Natron Resources Ltd., proposed to build a major soda ash extraction plant to exploit the very alkaline water of the lake. Breeding flamingos are very sensitive to disturbance, and quickly abandon their breeding effort. The proposed soda ash plant could, therefore, jeopardise Lesser Flamingo breeding in East Africa.
Some 450 bird species have been recorded in and around Lake Nakuru, including Endangered Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae, Near Threatened Grey-crested Helmet Shrike Prionops poliolophus and Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus. The site is also key for regionally important numbers of congregatory waterbirds such as Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, African Spoonbill Platalea alba, Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus and Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus.