Africa
11 Sep 2019

BirdWatch Zambia Celebrates a Conservation Milestone

On 31st August and 1 September 2019, BirdWatch Zambia (BWZ) - BirdLife International partner in Zambia, marked a milestone, celebrating 50 years of conservation in the country

© Chaona Phiri
© Chaona Phiri
By Lewis Kihumba

The event held at East Park Mall in Lusaka, brought together over 1700 participants for the two-day event. BirdWatch Zambia’s works and achievements over the last 50 years were presented to the guests. The highlight of this event was an exhibition of BWZ’s history and how that history has informed current projects and activities. These included an Atlas of Zambian Birds, and Important Bird Areas book. In addition, guests had the opportunity of learning more about BWZ’s current projects including the vulture safe zones initiative. 

“BWZ has done a lot of conservation work in the last 50 years and it is good to showcase our conservation success through different projects and initiatives that we have undertaken over the years.” said BWZ board chairman Makando Sinyama.

“I am excited to see the Zambian Barbet-a unique bird only found in Zambia, and know more about the movements and activities of a tracked vulture. I did not know the importance of vultures in the environment”, remarked an excited event participant Mwiza Nguzu.

Celebration of BWZ’s work also included a school art competition which drew together various students from 11 schools. This competition involved a drawing of bird(s) found in Zambia, with 11 year old Jack Harrison from Martin House School in Chisamba emerging overall winner with his painting of the Collared Sunbird. “This event is instrumental in helping Zambians learn about BWZ and its role in Zambia’s conservation efforts. It also creates awareness about the importance of conservation,” said Chaona Phiri BirdWatch Zambia’s Programme Manager.

Since 1969, BWZ has implemented a wide range of conservation programmes and initiatives on birds and their habitats.  Some of the past projects that BWZ has implemented include the Norwegian Ornithological society funded project to setup IBAs, a European Commission funded project to train Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) monitors. BWZ has also contributed to the Zambia National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2025) with support from the Civil Society Environment Fund.

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Currently BWZ is implementing a number of projects across the country including the Isdell funded vulture and Zambian Barbet conservation project.  It is also implementing a project on biological control of Kariba weed in Lukanga Swamp IBA funded by the Darwin Initiative, and the National Geographic Society funded vulture safe zones project in the Luangwa, among others.  In future, BWZ plans on expanding safe vulture zones in the country, assessing of IBA into KBAs and increasing its capacity in communication, advocacy and education to boost conservation efforts.