Government conserving Africa-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds

Government is demonstrating its commitment to enhancing the conservation of the Africa-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds through various initiatives across the country.

For instance, there is a partnership between our national power utility, Eskom and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) aimed at developing an integrated management system to minimise incidences of collisions into power lines, KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, said.

The MEC said Eskom, Birdlife South Africa and the Middelpunt Wetland Trust entered into a partnership that not only resulted in the conservation of endangered species but also mobilised land owners in the vicinity of the Ingula power station to sign up to a voluntary Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.

This has the added benefit of contributing to the conservation estate in South Africa, where additional 8 000 hectares were purchased by Eskom and recently declared as the new Ingula Nature Reserve. The area is also registered as an Important Bird Area with Birdlife South Africa, Zikalala said.

The MEC was addressing the Seventh Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the agreement on the Conservation of the Africa-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds in Durban, on Tuesday.

He said South Africans need to know more about protecting migratory birds and natural resources in their vicinity.

Concerted conservation actions by all of us, including governments, nature conservation organisations, and scientists within the Conservation sector is necessary. There is also an urgent need for focused awareness and education programmes on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory birds. These birds are also an important source of revenue for our country, Zikalala said.

A 2010 study by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) on Avitourisim indicated that the total size of the Avitourisim market is between 21 000 and 40 000 visitors annually.

The dti study estimated Avitourists’ total spend to be in the region of R927 million to R1.725 billion per year with domestic Avitourism spend accounting for between R482 million and R890 million, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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