BirdLife Botswana at the 15th Pan African Ornithological Congress, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, November 2022

The PAOC is held every four years and brings together researchers, scientists, conservationists and anyone involved in the conservation of African Birds in any capacity. It is great opportunity to catch up with colleagues from across the globe in a face to face basis and putting faces to those names you maybe have only ever interacted with online and of course an even greater opportunity to make new acquaintances and forge new connections and collaborations. This year it was held in Victoria falls from 20th to the 25th November 2022, hosted by BirdLife Zimbabwe. Over 300 participants from 60 nations, 33 of them African countries attended the event. At least 200 talks across 26 symposia and with 13 more interactive and open discussions were made.

Each Symposium had several talks focusing on a specific topic with topics ranging from Vulture conservation work and research, bird monitoring programs, community engagement, migratory species and flyways, wetlands and waters, technology in bird conservation, funding opportunities etc. with a lot of amazing presentation on great work done and ongoing across the continent.

BirdLife Botswana was represented by Mr. Mpho Williart our Conservation Officer – Species Monitoring. First, the day before the PAOC on the 20th was an opportunity for a face to face meeting of the BirdLife Partnership representatives attending the PAOC with some first time in person meeting for Pre-PAOC East Atlantic Flyway Initiative meeting at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Zimbabwe where Mpho shared a talk on BLB’s work towards conservation of migratory birds. During the congress BLB had an opportunity to display two posters presentation, the first one was our flagship Bird Population Monitoring Program sharing lessons on the achievements and challenges from the community engaging citizen science bird monitoring work in Botswana. To highlight the work done to conserve vultures and the plight they are currently facing in Botswana, BLB also shared a poster presentation discussing issues surrounding vulture conservation in the country as well as past, present and near future initiatives to conserve vultures. We also got an opportunity to share our work towards supporting livelihoods and community involvement through avitourism on the “Community involvement in avitourism, ornithological research, and bird conservation” roundtable talk organised with other southern African partners. As part of the roundtable panel, Mr Williart gave a spark talk on the recent work done by BLB to support to the Nata Bird Sanctuary avitourism project by Nata Conservation Trust which was financially supported by the American Embassy in Botswana.

Figure 1: More than 300 participants from 60 different countries attended the 15th PAOC







Figure 1: More than 300 participants from 60 different countries attended the 15th PAOC








Figure 2: A memorable dinner at the BOMA for PAOC delegates








Figure 3: One of the morning plenary talks during PAOC








Figure 4: One of the roundtable talk sessions during PAOC focused on Vulture Safe Zones














Figure 5: Talk on Migratory Birds Conservation Work in Botswana at the EAFI initiative meeting














Figure 7Vulture Conservation Poster Presentation











Figure 8: Mpho Williart giving a spark talk on Nata Sanctuary on the Avitourism Roundtable talk