African Bird Club Supports the Communities in Botswana on Wildlife Monitoring

 

BirdLife Botswana has received P40 000.00 (£3,000.00) financial support from the African Bird Club (ABC) to strengthen the involvement of the rural communities and to improve the data quality of the Bird Population Monitoring Programme (BPM), the citizen science programme implemented by BirdLife Botswana since 2010. The overall objective of the support is about empowering local citizens, particularly members of rural communities, to make a meaningful contribution to biodiversity monitoring and thereby influence Botswana to achieve SDG goal number 15, halt biodiversity loss. This will be achieved by enabling rural communities to increase their stake in the overall resource management, and building local capacity, through a series of training workshops, to enable ‘ordinary’ citizens to improve their bird knowledge. The financial support(project) will build the capacity of rural communities on environmental conservation and increase the sense of ownership of their natural resources leading to sustainable practices being adopted, benefiting birds and the general environment in their areas. The bird monitoring data is collected by volunteer surveyors across Botswana twice-annually, in February and November, using point count technique; the transect is 2 km in length with a stop every 200 m for five minutes only to record all the birds they see and hear. Initial results from the BPM Programme have already been published in a peer-reviewed journal (Wotton et al. 2017).

One of the main objectives of the BPM Programme is to build the capacity of Batswana in bird identification and awareness and increase the level of community participation in wildlife monitoring. The BPM Programme requires volunteers to pledge a long-term commitment to biodiversity monitoring through their data contribution, which is the foundation for the Programme’s success, and so funds from the ABC are vital. The project expected outcomes are increased capacity and prospects of wider biodiversity monitoring by rural community members and effective management of the natural resources in Botswana informed by the reports from the monitoring activities in the long run. The results from the project will be useful to advocate for conservation of common terrestrial species in Botswana. The BPM programme is implemented in partnership with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and receives the support from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. BirdLife Botswana would like to thank all the BPM volunteers who contribute the bird data immensely. To join the Programme email education@birdlifebotswana.org.bw or call 002673190540.

Article by Keddy Moleofi

BirdLife Botswana

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