Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Environmentalists want tougher laws to protect grey crested cranes. Records from Nature Uganda, a non governmental organisation involved in the protection of nature show that the number of grey crested cranes dropped from 100,000 between 1972-1974 to 8000 in 2018.
50 percent of the 8000 grey crested crane have their habitats in Western Uganda districts according to survey carried out by Nature Uganda in 2018. However, environmentalists are concerned by the rate at which the Grey crested crane is disappearing.
Achiles Byaruhanga, the Executive Director Nature Uganda says unless something is done, the Grey crested crane will be extinct from Uganda in the next fear years.
Evas Asiimwe, the Kabale District Environment Officer says there is need to introduce tougher laws to protect grey crested cranes which are hunted for food by locals and sale in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Pamela Katushabe, the Rubanda District Environment Officer says all efforts should be made to protect the grey crested crane since it is a symbol of national importance. She states unless something is done, the future generation will only read about the bird which is found on the Ugandan flag and emblem.
Katushabe says that more laws should be imposed restricting the public from destroying wetlands which act as major habitats for crested cranes.
Jane Amumpeire, the programs manager Self Help Africa, a non-government organization advocating for the protection of Lake Bunyonyi says that locals resort to eating crested cranes to due to food shortage.
She says there is need for government to improve food security to prevent residents from targeting endangered species like the crested crane.
Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the Kabale District LC 5 Chairperson says it was unheard of that communities were hunting and eating the crested crane. He has promised to put in place measures to apprehend whoever is found hunting the bird.
Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi the Tourism State Minister says it is the responsibility of every Ugandans to ensure crested cranes are protected from extinct. He also says there is need to put in place measures to restore wetlands as a way of conserving the habitat for the crested cranes.
According to Uganda Wildlife act 1996 (75), any person who is convicted of an offence involving taking, hunting, molesting or reducing into possession any protected species is liable to a fine of not less than one million Shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or to both.
Environmentalists commemorated the Crested Cranes festival at Kikungiri primary school in Kabale municipality on Monday. It was part of the activities held to commemorate the World Wildlife day .