The bird population counted by North West Nature Conservationists
6 Aug 2010
Nature Conservationists from the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development (DACERD) recently joined scores of local farmers, non-governmental organisations, bird clubs, some schools and conservation agencies during the national counting of all the large terrestrial birds for the half yearly Coordinated Avifaunal Road counts project (CAR) which ended last week.
In the North West province, the terrestrial birds’ counting was carried out by the DACERD’s conservationist and the North West Parks and Tourism Board at the Wolwespruit Nature Reserve.
As Ms Thumeka Ntloko, Director for Biodiversity Management and Conservation explains, CAR count is a birds’ counting exercise taking place along the quieter public roads in farming areas on the last Saturday of January and July each year.
She says people taking part in this project, which began in 1993, count birds such as cranes, bustards, storks and secretary birds that can be seen on farmlands from the road. Participants drove slowly, stopped every 2km and got out of their vehicles to scan around in all directions with their binoculars.
Nedick Mageza Bila, a departmental conservationist who was part of the bird counting exercise says the objective of this activity was to determined whether their population was stable, increasing or decreasing, and also found out more about their use of farmland habitants.
According to the CAR count project coordinator, Donella Young from the University of Cape Town, many of those species are threatened by habitat loss and pesticides and they are particularly vulnerable to collisions with power-lines owing to their size and limited ability to manoeuvre.
More than 20 species are monitored by CAR, of which 14 appear in the South African Red Data Book as Critically Endangered, Vulnerable or Near-Threatened. More than 750 people take part every six months and count along about 340 routes. The CAR coordinators are grateful for the voluntary contribution and commitment by those concerned CAR participants and organisers such as the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development.
All the information about this year’s CAR count occurred in North West can be accessed through the North West Parks and Tourism Board office or the Biodiversity Scientific Support sub-directorate office at the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development.
Mr Nedick Bila
Tel: 018 389 5201
Issued by: North West Agriculture, Conservation,Environment and Rural Development
6 Aug 2010
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