While planning your birding tour to Uganda, as a birder I advise fellow birding travelers to book their birding trips corresponding with the dates of Uganda Big Birding Day Event. Here you with your guide will meet various birders and interact to learn more about Uganda’s birds and the migratory birds from Europe. On this event you will visit most of the important bird areas-including Mabira forest, Katomi Kingdom resort-Garuga, Lutembe bay, Uganda wildlife education centre and Botanical gardens Entebbe, Mpanga forest, Mabamba bay swamp for the rare stork shoe bill.
Mabamba Bay is one of the spotlight site where the highest number of Shoebills has been recorded in one day and over a relatively small area. This kind of concentration of the species has attracted tourists as well as wildlife traffickers looking for both the eggs and the birds for trade. Recent reports from immigration office indicate increased incidences of culprits of wildlife trafficking being arrested at border points, however, many still go unnoticed.
On the other hand it presented opportunities for income generation for communities through eco-tourism. Uganda tour operators and other sectors like Nature Uganda aims to support and strengthen the Mabamba community groups for long term conservation of the wetland.
This is mainly through:
- Specialized training of selected community members in conservation linked livelihood alternatives such as tour guiding, crafts and eco-tourism,
- Promoting avian – tourism especially Shoebill trekking in Mabamba Bay,
- Getting selected community members trained to undertake basic site monitoring to track status – threats at the site and conservation actions within the site and
- Community compliance policing undertaken on a regular basis to strengthen the implementation of the community management plan and improve on wetland management by the District.
The information collected will contribute to the effort to develop a global species action plan for the shoebill and creating a community-government partnership to cab wildlife trade.