Gilbert Tayebwa, the ICF South-Central Uganda Crane Conservation-Program Officer, says that Lwengo is one of the largest breeding colonies for the cranes but several have been encroached on by the farmers and bricklayers.
The International Crane Foundation (ICF), a Conservation
organisation has expressed concern about the rate at which crested cranes are trapped and killed in Lwengo district.
According to ICF, the uncontrolled hunting, eating and
killing of the precious national emblem is frustrating the ongoing campaign to
protect the Crested Cranes
from extinction. Gilbert Tayebwa, the ICF South-Central Uganda Crane
says that Lwengo
is one of the largest breeding colonies for the cranes but several have been encroached on by the farmers and bricklayers.
He further notes that the death toll of the Crested cranes keeps rising from one
planting season to another
since farmers poison the cranes to protect their crops. Tayebewa noted that 108 crested cranes were
poisoned and several
eggs destroyed in the last six
months. In March 2021, the same organisation reported the poisoning of 60 crested cranes in addition to 48 others killed in the September planting season.
According to Tayebwa, they are engaging different
communities in crane conservation to
protect the endangered birds from extinction.
(Luganda) “Wano twogera………………
2021 Baseline survey indicates that all wetlands in Kyazanga, Kyazanga, Katovu
Kinoni, Lwengo Town Councils,
plus Lwengo rural, Malongo, Kisekka, Kkingo, and Ndagwe sub-counties have been encroached on with
little intervention from the
district to evict the farmers.
He notes that they have brought on board 90 crane custodians
to sensitise their
respective communities about the importance of the cranes. Tobias Kayemba,
one of the crane custodians, says Kiyanja wetland has greatly been encroached on and the breeding colonies of the crested cranes
Apart from poisoning the cranes, Kayemba explains
that the birds are hunted for economic
purposes while some people have started eating them.
(Luganda) “Kukyalo kuno………………
Dr. Adalbert Ainomuchunguzi, the ICF Regional Manager (East Africa), explains that the Uganda
crested crane is so far the most
endangered species in Africa and it may soon been extinct if nothing is done to protect them.
He says that being a national symbol, the precious
national emblem is protected under
Uganda Wildlife (UWA) Act 2019 but people have
refused to respect it.
He notes that any person who hunts, traps, kills,
sells or even buys the crane
commits an offence and upon conviction, the
culprit can be liable to a fine or
life imprisonment or both according to the
discretion of the court.
he explained, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
put the crested crane among the most endangered
need special conservation.
Jude Namulema, the Lwengo District Environment Officer, attributes the problem to lack of funds for close monitoring of the wetlands and to evict encroachers.
(Luganda) “Entobazi mu Lwengo………………
According to the ICF’s September baseline survey, there
are 1,359 crested cranes in Lwengo district.