Birds and People

Publication name Publication Type Description File
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.

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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 

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Birds and People- No.19 September 2007 Newsletter

The Pan African Ornithological Congress is the premier meeting for ornithologists from throughout Africa, and PAOC 12, which was held in South Africa earlier this month, was attended by over 200 participants from all corners of the continent.

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Bird Conservation No.3 2004 Newsletter

A major part of this newsletter focuses on saving individual species, as this is an important component of BirdLife’s work – in Botswana and elsewhere. I particularly like the Species Programme of BirdLife, as its rationale is so simple and to the point:

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Birds and People No.20 December 2008 Newsletter

In recent months, there have been two major vulture poisoning incidents in northern Botswana. During August, 50 vultures were killed in one incident in the Hainaveld, and this was followed during October by a further 50 in the Xudum concession in the Okavango Delta. The tragedy of these senseless killings is that the vultures were killed for nothing – the prime target of the poisoning was ‘problem’ predators, and the vultures were innocent victims of the thoughtless method adopted by the perpetrators. These two incidents are undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg – how many other similar incidents have taken place without being brought to BirdLife Botswana’s attention? From our work, illegal poisoning of vultures is emerging as the most serious threat to this globally threatened group of birds – at this rate, the rarer species may soon disappear. Poison is freely available in hardware shops throughout the country and it is easy to poison a carcass and disappear from the scene before being detected. What can be done to address this problem? Should BirdLife Botswana embark on an education and awareness campaign, or should we be lobbying for the banning of domestic poisons? This is not a new problem, although it is now reaching serious proportions in Botswana, and fellow conservationists must have made some inroads into addressing this insidious issue – if so, we’d like to hear from you. Pete Hancock.

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Bird Conservation No.4 2004 Newsletter

Lake Ngami is recognised as one of Botswana’s Important Bird Area (IBA) since it meets the international criteria set out by BirdLife International. In anticipation of the Lake filling this year, BirdLife Botswana has been monitoring the build-up of bird numbers and diversity, and this has been spectacular. By the end of September, 60 species of waterbirds were present, with 17 species recorded breeding there.

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Birds and People No.21 March 2009 Newsletter

BirdLife Botswana has taken a quantum leap forward with the signing of a contract with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for a four year project in the Makgadikgadi area (see lead article overleaf). This is the first time that a Non-Governmental Organisation in Botswana has accessed funds from the Medium-scale GEF which is usually reserved for Government projects, and confirms BirdLife Botswana’s role as a major player in the conservation field in Botswana. It is a huge and demanding project, with substantial funding, which will stretch our organisation’s expertise and resources to their limit – we will grow to meet these challenges! As with all things worthwhile, this has not come easy, and the dogged perseverance with which BirdLife Botswana’s Director, Kabelo Senyatso, has pursued this project and funding over the past few years has to have been seen to be believed - it is a tribute to his foresight and energy that BirdLife Botswana is now in a position to make a really meaningful contribution to conservation in general, and birds in particular, in Botswana. Pete Hancock

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Bird Conservation No.5 2005 Newsletter

While it is probably unwise to single out a particular individual(s) among the many people who regularly contribute information to the BirdLife Botswana database, special mention just has to be made of the wealth of information that has been submitted by these two individuals. A month has not passed in the four years since BirdLife Botswana initially requested information, without a letter arriving in the post with the now familiar Selinda logo – a Great White Pelican – on the envelope. I always look forward to reading the contents, as their report is not restricted only to Birds of Concern – the occasional rarity or unusually large congregation of waterbirds or other remarkable observation always makes for interesting reading. If we had more regular contributors of this calibre, the number of ‘data deficient’ birds (birds for which we have insufficient information) encountered in the development of Botswana’s own Red Data Book for Birds would have been negligible (see Newsletter #2). There are many other people who regularly send in vital information too, and this note is not intended to be a slight on your valuable contributions. Let’s all work together to conserve Botswana’s birds! Pete Hancock.

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Birds and People No.22 June 2009 Newsletter

The lead article in this issue is about an exciting and important initiative that has longterm implications for the protection and sustainable management of the Okavango River and Delta. This particular project, under the auspices of the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) aims to predict the response of the Okavango ecosystem to changes in water flow resulting from different water-development scenarios. Central to the project is a predictive model which can be interrogated to provide information on the impacts (both positive and negative) of these potential scenarios on the ecological integrity of the system, as well as on the social and economic benefits.

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Bird Conservation No.6 June 2005 Newsletter

The BirdLife Species Programme focuses on conserving globally threatened bird species. This is a strategic approach since there are over 9,000 species of bird worldwide and it is obviously not possible to conserve all of them. However, interestingly, part of the Species Programme deals with ‘Keeping common birds common’ – it would not make sense to concentrate only on threatened species to the exclusion of all others. 

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Birds and People No.23 September 2009 Newsletter

It is somehow ironic that the 5th of September was celebrated as International Vulture Awareness Day throughout the world, and yet here I sit looking at the carcase of a White-backed Vulture poisoned yesterday on the fringes of the Okavango Delta (one of over 50 vultures killed together). This is a bad time of the year for our vultures – August 2007 saw over 50 birds being poisoned in the Hainaveld, October 2008, over 50
in the Xudum Concession and now September this year, over 50 in the Xudum Concession once again. Over 152 organisations in 44 countries recognised International Vulture Awareness Day – an encouraging response considering that it was the first year that the date has been designated for vulture awareness. These figures tell me that vultures are widely appreciated by people throughout the world – what’s the problem here in Botswana? I have a feeling that as usual, we will only come to value these great birds when it is too late. Let’s hope that I am proved wrong. Pete Hancock

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