Shoebills considered endangered as less than 200 of the birds are left in Uganda’s wild

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The search for the rare bird begins. It’s an area of about 16500 hectares on the shores of Lake Victoria and after a while we spot one. The wetland was once home to hundreds of Shoebills thirty years ago. But today coming across just one took us hours, an indication of reducing numbers of this gentle bird.

Irene Namubiru a local guide here tells us the dangers facing this important bird are caused by human activity.

“We have people here who burn this swamp…the eggs and the young ones get killed in that fire.” said Irene Namubiru – Local guide

And that’s not all.The local fishermen and the birds compete for food in this wetland.

“Thess bird feeds on lungfish, Tilapia and frogs. The fishermen go for that fish and then that bird needs to eat the fish….that’s another threat for that bird.” Irene Namubiru – Local guide

Uganda has about 150 Shoebills remaining in the wild. Conservationists are concerned about the falling numbers.

“There are very few shoebills remaining in the country and if all of them are not actually conserved then we will not have any shoebill remaining in the future for our children to see. ” said Moses Olupot – Uganda Wildlife Centre

The female shoebill always lays two eggs but only one ever survives. To protect this endangered species, Uganda’s Wild life Authority is supporting the community’s eco-friendly activities, which helps protect its natural habitat. The area has also been listed among wetlands of international Importance under the Ramsar convention.