Birds and People No.34 June 2012

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.

Birds and People No.33 March 2012

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.

Birds and People No.32 December 2011

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!

Birds and People No.31 September 2011

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.

Birds and People No.30 June 2011

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.

Birds and People No.29 March 2011

Never a dull moment! As one threat to the envronment diminshes,another is sure to raise its head. Thus we are faced with continual challenges which keeps us always on our toes..

Birds and People No.28 December 2010

The role of birds as environmental indicators is well-known – they are charismatic and conspicuous, and many are easy to identify, making them ideal candidates for monitoring. Bird-rich areas have been found to be rich in biodiversity, so birds are a good proxy for other organisms too. Now you couple these factors with a cadre of amateur (but competent) birdwatchers, and you have a recipe for an early warning system that can contribute directly to human wellbeing.

Birds and People No.27 September 2010

For the past several years, the Independence Day fishing competition at the end of September has been held in the Okavango Panhandle, coinciding with the peak breeding time for the Near Threatened African Skimmer. This species nests on exposed sandbanks along the Okavango River, and the presence of a large number of fishermen and their boats has had a negative impact on its breeding success. This year however, the fishing competition is under new management, and the organiser, Heather Clark from Bush Boutique in Maun has agreed to move the venue to Chanoga on the Boteti River.

Birds and People No.26 June 2010

At present, Northern Botswana is abuzz with the return of the big Okavango floods! A combination of recharged groundwater from last year’s flood, good rainfall over the Delta this season, and a healthy inflow down the Okavango River, has resulted in floodwaters reaching areas that have been dry since the seventies. The front of the flood has already reached Maun, and it’s starting to get a little wet! The annual flood-pulse is the lifeblood of the Okavango, and is awaited with keen anticipation.

Birds and People No.25 March 2010

2010 got off to a great start with a proposal to create a Flamingo Sanctuary in the southern part of Sua Pan taking shape. This sanctuary will be a major contribution to the conservation of the Lesser Flamingo, a Near Threatened species, and its unique habitat - part of the Makgadikgadi Pans Important Bird Area in central Botswana. All credit for this initiative must go to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, and to communities living in the vicinity of the southern part of Sua Pan, who have wholeheartedly supported this project.