Chinese blamed for bird decline in Ethiopia
Disappearing habitat and climate change have been blamed for a decline in the Ethiopia’s bird populations – now a conservationist says the Chinese nationals living in Ethiopia could be causing the Ethiopian birds to disappear.
Speaking to the Amharic Reporter published yesterday, director of Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Mengistu Wondafrash, said many of the Chinese living in Ethiopia are illegally hunting birds for food. Mengistu said the Chinese are using a board with sticky liquid and cereals to hunt birds and consume them. He estimates scores of rare birds have been killed this year and the illegal hunting and trapping of Ethiopian birds is becoming an issue of conservation concern.
This is the first time a notable conservationist spoke openly about what others knew but not dared to express.
Other than threats of overpopulation, ecology and land management, the Chinese are becoming the reasons behind declines of bird population in Ethiopia, the conservationist explained.
Mengistu said his association has issued letters to responsible parties to warn Chinese to stop slaughtering birds.
“They are mostly doing it in their camps, which makes it hard to control,” Mengistu said.”As long as the police fail to take action and the government remain silent, the situation is likely to get worse,” he added.
Many changes have also affected bird populations – most notably changes in land use and agricultural activities that have affected the bird by reducing available feeding grounds, Mengistu said.
These changes can change the amount or quality of key resources needed by birds, such as suitable places to nest or a shortage of food in summer or winter, he added.
Mengistu stated that rare birds like Liben larks are also continuing to be at risk. Liben larks that are restricted to a very small range of grassland that measures only 36 square kilometers in Negele Borena are experiencing widespread decline and if nothing is done and their populations continue to decline, they may also have the unfortunate distinction of being the first bird to go extinct in Ethiopia, Mengistu said.Two other Ethiopian endemics share an incredibly limited range in southern Ethiopian with the White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis and Ethiopian (Stresemann’s) Bush Crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. The flagship bird of Birdfair 2010, Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco Tauraco ruspolii, has a limited distribution to the northeast of Yabello.