National Emblem, Crested Cranes face extinction

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The Executive Director of Nature Uganda Achilles Byaruhanga has warned that the Crested Crane, that is a symbol, both on the country’s flag and Court of Arms, is on its way to extinction if measures are not taken to save its habitats.

Byaruhanga said this yesterday while speaking during the crane
festival at Buranga primary school in Kamuganguzi Sub County in Kabale district.

The festival was aimed at educating awareness about the plight facing Uganda’s most coveted symbol.

He explained that Crested Cranes being one of the major tourist’s attractions that should be protected, and is used as a symbol of Uganda, it has been targeted for trade and witchcraft, but is also
captured and exported illegally as well as massive encroachment on
wetlands, the breeding grounds for the Crane, has also been blamed for the disappearing bird in the country.

Byaruhanga promised that Nature Uganda will continue to sponsor
educational programs on the importance of cranes and wetland
conservation. He says the program is in response to the depletion of
wetlands in the country.

He further asked farmers to protect the hills by embracing better
farming methods such as crop rotation, mulching among others to fight the increasing floods as well as protecting the wetlands from silting.

The Kabale district Environmental Officer Evas Asiimwe asked the residents to embark on the restoration of all wetlands in the district
which have totally been degraded by area residents who had encroached
on them carrying out illegal activities such as cultivation,
settlement among others.

Assimwe asked residents to form themselves into groups and be
supported in income-generating activities that are allowed to be
carried out in the wetlands such as beekeeping and fish farming.

The Kabale district inspect of schools Moses Tumwijukye who
represented the Kabale district chairperson Patrick Besigye Keihwa
pledged to continue supporting programs in schools aimed at protecting the lives of crested cranes and the environment.

Jimmy Muhebwa Muhereza, the crane and wetland project coordinator from Nature Uganda said that there is a need for awareness in the population, especially on the proper use of the environment so that those who encroach on the crane’s natural habitat and interfered with it can stop.

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