The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) plans to reduce the fees charged for birding expeditions from US 100$ to US 30$ per day effective January 2014 with a view to boosting birding as a prime tourism product.
According to the UWA director of Tourism Development and Business Services (DTBS) Mr. Raymond Engena, the new rate will be the same as that charged for the nature walk.”There will be no difference in charges between birding and nature walk,” stated the director during the launch of the Big Birding Day at the Uganda Museum on Friday October 18th,2013.
Mr. Engena stated that the future of avian tourism lies in the private guides and called upon the birding promoters to harmonize for the activity within and outside protected areas. Addressing the theme of Big Birding Day 2013 “Connecting People to Birds and Nature,” Mr. Engena said that Uganda now boasts of recorded 1,065 species with 60% of this population found in the national parks. He lamented however that birding was competing with agriculture as people cut down the natural habitats for birds and degrading wetlands, lack of appreciation for birds’ contribution to the livelihoods and called on the promotion strategies for birding to be streamlined.
Mr. Engena who the guest speaker at the launch ceremony argued that the tourism fraternity must get the destination marketing right and think of how best to share the benefits from the birding activity with the communities. Dr. Robert Nabanyumya speaking on behalf of the board chairman, Nature Uganda, said birding and birds contribute immensely to our economic development and improvement of livelihoods. He noted that the birding event was initiated in 2003 but since 2009,it has turned into an annual event
The birding race was marked by dispatching various groups to different birding sites including wetlands, semi-arid sites, forests, farmland, grasslands and the protected areas for a form of a competition to determine the group that would come up with the longest list of birds identified and counted. The UWA group chose Ziika forest and Kajansi fishing ponds where they managed to identify birds in the wilderness with beautiful colors and unique calls . The group was able to register a variety of bird species such as pied Kingfisher, long tailed cormorant, the yellow weaver bird, white Egret and the black necked dove among others.The official results will be announced during the birding festivbal on October 26 T at Kitante Primary school grounds