Birds and People
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|Conservation Newsletter 38 "Birds and People"-Current Issues||Newsletter||
BirdLife Botswana is rapidly transforming itself from a social bird-watching club to a scientifically-based, professional bird conservation agency, and the advent of this newsletter is in keeping with that trend. The newsletter picks up on the interest generated by a modest, four-page BirdLife Botswana handout entitled “BOTSWANA BIRDS CONSERVATION“, that was sent out three years ago; as a result of this, we now have a substantial and growing network of field birders who contribute regular information to BirdLife Botswana’s bird database, and who play a role in monitoring and conserving birds in their areas.
The primary purpose of this newsletter therefore, is to provide feedback to people in the network; the subscription fee is in the hard currency of information! Please feel free to pass your copy on to someone else who you know would like to play an active role in bird monitoring and conservation. Download the conservation newsletter here in .pdf format
|Bird Conservation No.14 June 2007||Newsletter||
BirdLife Botswana is an organisation on the move. Since 2002, our staff complement has increased to seven full-time employees (including one Japanese volunteer). Our annual income has also increased - almost fifty-fold, from a mere P20,000 per annum to close to P1 million in 2006 as our efforts to conserve Botswana’s birds have escalated. A great deal of the success of our organisation is directly attributed to the efforts of (among others) Kabelo Senyatso who, in 2002, was identified by the BirdLife Botswana Committee in Gaborone as its first full-time employee. He subsequently received a scholarship from BirdLife Botswana to undertake an MSc in Conservation Biology at the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town. Since completing in 2004, he has made BirdLife Botswana his calling in life. He has been working tirelessly to set the organisation’s direction and to generate bird conservation projects and secure funding while at the same time building partnerships with other stakeholders. It is therefore appropriate that Kabelo has been appointed as the first Director of BirdLife Botswana as from May this year. I hope that all readers of this newsletter will join with me in congratulating him on his well-deserved promotion. In addition to his workload as Director, he will be embarking on his PhD early in 2008. Pete Hancock
|Birds and People No.30 June 2011||Newsletter||
The recent passing of Hew Penry, well-known as Author of The Bird Atlas of Botswana, marks as and end of era in birding cycles in Southern Africa.
|Conservation Newsletter 37 "Birds and People"-Current Issues||Newsletter||
People from all walks of life connect with birds in one way or another. I don’t know anyone who isn’t moved by their beauty and vitality, and the dawn chorus of awakening birds is a great way to start the day. Some people are inspired by birds’ ability to fly so effortlessly, while others find their varied behaviours interesting and worth studying. The incredible feats shown by migratory species which fly vast distances and call the world their oyster, are a source of wonderment to us all. Many birds are valued as food, and the bright feathers of some species are used for decoration or ceremonial purposes. Whatever your interest, birds share the planet with us and it will be a vastly impoverished world without them. Pete Hancock
|Bird Conservation No.15 September 2007||Newsletter||
This issue contains a wealth of interesting information on vultures (among other things), and readers may wonder why we have chosen to focus on this particular group of birds. It is because all African vultures, with very few exceptions, are now recognised as being Globally Threatened – including even the seemingly abundant White-backed Vulture. The well-known, catastrophic decline of Asian vultures in the short space of little more than a decade, has also highlighted the vulnerability of this group of birds to extinction. Vultures occupy a precarious position at the top of the food pyramid, as any disorder lower down in the food chain impacts particularly severely on scavengers. The Cape Vulture has long been regarded as a bird of concern in Botswana and the proclamation of Mannyelanong Game Reserve by the Botswana Government in 1985 was one of the first initiatives on the continent to protect a vulture’s breeding area. However, the Lappet-faced Vulture was also subsequently recognised as a ‘red data book’ species, followed recently by the White-headed and White-backed Vultures. It is for this reason that BirdLife Botswana has launched a project entitled ‘The Lappet-faced Vulture – a flagship for threatened raptors in Botswana’ and we are slowly gathering data on the numbers and distribution of vultures and other raptors, as well as an insight into the threats that face them. Botswana undoubtedly has important populations of the five major southern African vulture species, but this situation seems set to change if conservation action for the species is not undertaken. Particularly disturbing has been the discovery of a poisoning incident on a Hainaveld farm late last year where 80 vultures were needlessly killed when a Sketch: D Butchart Bird Conservation Newsletter # 15 - September, 2007 2 farmer put out poison for lions that had been marauding his cattle – this may just be ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Hence this editorial – vultures are a beleaguered group, and we urge members of the public to continue to send us information on all species in Botswana. Pete Hancock.
|Birds and People No.31 September 2011||Newsletter||
Its been another busy quarter with BirdLife Botswana staff involved in a number of bird conservation initiatives throughout the country. This newsletter is part of our commitment to share our interesting work and, in the process of doing so, to make bird information relevant and available to everybody. The new face to the newsletter is thus part of the move to attract a greater readership, and to keep pace with the times. I can’t quite visualize you lying in bed reading the newsletter on your laptop, but I can see in my mind’s eye, you reading it on your computer at work, while your boss thinks you’re studiously beavering away at your job! For those people who like to have a hard copy in their hands, or who don’t have such easy access to computers and the internet, a pdf version will still always be available. Happy reading! Pete Hancock: Editor
|Conservation Newsletter 36 December 2012 "Birds and People"-Current Issues||Newsletter||
This issue of Birds is dedicated to Zee Mpofu, former wildlife Biologist in the Department of Wildlife and National Parks who passed away recently…
|Bird Conservation No.16 December 2007||Newsletter||
It is a peculiar quirk of many conservationists, shared by birdwatchers too, that they place an inordinate amount of emphasis and importance on Red Data books. Admittedly these doomsday books are useful for highlighting species requiring urgent conservation attention, but no-one seems to dwell much on their negative connotations or pay much attention to the fact that Red Data books are an indictment on our effectiveness in conserving birds. Countries with more globally threatened species are considered more important than those which have healthy bird populations – gone are the days of prevention being better than cure! This perversity is mirrored by birdwatchers who would rather go to a biologically impoverished area to see the few remaining individuals of a species, than visit a pristine environment such as the Okavango Delta which harbours a large number of more common birds. Similarly, donors seem more impressed by lists of Critically Endangered species than by requests for funding to maintain core populations of a large number of bird species. Against this background, Red Data lists seem to be continually expanding, reflecting our reluctance to remove birds from the list, and/or our inability to stem biodiversity loss?
|Birds and People No.32 December 2011||Newsletter||
It is a moot point whether bird conservation is about birds or people—it is about both, as encapsulated in the slogan ‘together for birds and people”. The previous issue of the newsletter had a picture of a bird on the cover; now it is time to feature a person. And who better than BirdLife Botswana’s Chairperson/Acting-Director, Harold Hester who has been shouldering responsibility for the organization full-time since 2009 when Kabelo Senyatso embarked on his PhD through the University of East Anglia. Rumour has it that no-one is happier to see Kabelo back than Harold! Our front cover articles opposite pay tribute to Harold, and challenge Kabelo to ‘hit the ground running!’ Without people, bird conservation does not take place ... Pete Hancock
|Conservation Newsletter 35 "Birds and People"-September 2012-Current Issues||Newsletter||
The lead article in this issue describes a project to determine the movements of globally threatened raptors in Botswana. The purpose of the project is to see to what extent vultures are adequately safeguarded in Botswana’s huge protected areas. The project benefitted greatly from the partnership with the Denver Zoological Foundation and the CKGR Research team, proving once again that ‘working together works’. We particularly enjoyed the involvement of several Batswana colleagues, although strangely the photographs in this issue of two of them (Mmoloki Keiteretse — below, and Cinistar Tjitemisa — page 4) show them looking decidedly unhappy! Actually they both had a great time, and were knocked out by the awesome Lappet -faced Vulture in particular. There is no doubt that ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’! Pete Hancock
|Bird Conservation No.17 March 2008||Newsletter||
Welcome to the first issue of BirdLife Botswana’s Bird Conservation newsletter for 2008. Yes, it does look a bit different, but then 2008 is not the same as 2007 was! During October 2007, I had the good fortune to attend the Council for Africa Partnership (CAP) meeting in Nairobi – an annual event where representatives from all the BirdLife partners in Africa meet to shape the BirdLife Africa Programme and report on progress made in their respective countries. CAP 2007 coincided with the meeting of the Global Council of BirdLife International, also held in Nairobi, so we had the opportunity to meet the representatives from the different regions where the BirdLife partnership is active – Asia, Caribbean and North America, Central and South America, Europe, Middle East and Pacific. From their unique perspective, almost all were struck by the contribution that grassroots, local communities were making to bird conservation in Africa – they highlighted this as one of the great strengths of the Africa programme and encouraged us to continue working with Site Support Groups. This inextricable link between birds and people is indeed central to BirdLife’s vision and philosophy, as encapsulated in the by-line “Working together for birds and people”. A major part of BirdLife Botswana’s work is devoted to promoting mutually beneficial relationships between birds and people, and thus it seems appropriate to call our newsletter “Birds and People”. The participation of local citizens in our work is gathering momentum and the newsletter will in future feature more articles that showcase this aspect. Pete Hancock.
|Birds and People No.33 March 2012||Newsletter||
This issue features several articles on vultures. This group of birds is under serious threat in Africa, and during 2011, the Hooded Vulture was added to the list of species in Botswana that are globally threatened. It went straight from the category Least Concern to Endangered. This is a bird we take for granted in Botswana, as it is still reasonably common within its range in the northern parts of the country; however, its populations have all but collapsed elsewhere in Africa. Currently, the Whitebacked Vulture is our most numerous vulture, but it is predicted to join the Hooded in the Endangered category soon if declines throughout the rest of Africa continue. Urgent conservation action is required. Pete Hancock
|Bird Conservation No.2 2014||Newsletter||
BirdLife Botswana is rapidly transforming itself from a social bird-watching club to a scientifically-based, professional bird conservation agency, and the advent of this newsletter is in keeping with that trend. The newsletter picks up on the interest generated by a modest, four-page BirdLife Botswana handout entitled “BOTSWANA BIRDS CONSERVATION“ that was sent out three years ago; as a result of this, we now have a substantial and growing network of field birders who contribute regular information to BirdLife Botswana’s bird database, and who play a role in monitoring and conserving birds in their areas. The primary purpose of this newsletter therefore, is to provide feedback to people in the network; the subscription fee is in the hard currency of information! Please feel free to pass your copy on to someone else who you know would like to play an active role in bird monitoring and conservation.
|Birds and People- No.18 June 2008||Newsletter||
In this issue, you can read about the exciting, ground-breaking study of Wattled Crane movements to be undertaken by BirdLife Botswana later this year – we will be fitting six birds with satellite transmitters to track their movements throughout the region, the first time that this high-tech method has been used with this species. This study has been made possible by the generous support of three local conservation-minded businesses – Ngami Toyota, Ngamiland Adventure Safaris and CCAfrica.
|Birds and People No.34 June 2012||Newsletter||
Is sustainable development an oxymoron? Conservation and sustainable development are, in essence, about balancing human populations with natural resources. However, it seems as though human numbers are rapidly outstripping the capacity of the earth to support them. At every turn, compromises are made to benefit people (in the short term) at the expense of our natural resources capital. In Botswana, the original national objective of sustained development has become transformed into sustainable development, and now this concept is being firmly entrenched on the political agenda following the Summit for Sustainability. Read about this exciting initiative on the opposite page. It may just be that sustainable development is an achievable reality! Pete Hancock