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Significance of Bird Monitoring in
Promoting Ecotourism
Fred Barasa Munyekenye
Nature Kenya
• Why birds
• IBAs
• Characteristics of Ecotourism
• Opportunities of avifauna in ecotourism
• Challenges to ecotourism
Why birds?—(1)
• Birds are a component of biodiversity, a global resource of
immense value, largely ignored and abused.
• Birds are part of the human culture, e.g. honey-guides,
national emblems, stamps, hotel names, etc
• Birds bring people together, especially through migration.
Soaring birds (Eritrea and Ethiopia, Israel/Palestine)
Why birds ..(2)?
Economic development
• Ecotourism i.e. bird watching a big industry
• Food i.e. sustainable game hunting, domestication of
chicken, Turkey, ostrich, Guinefowl.
• Ecological interactions i.e. seed dispersal and pollination,
pest control : Immense value
• Problem species: Agriculture, air travel, diseases
Birds and the environment
Indicator role:
• Where the most biodiverse sites are located _ IBAs/KBAs
• Indicators of the quality of the habitats on which life
depends: DDT, climate change,
• Management effectiveness e.g. logging
Why birds ..(2)?
Economic development
• Birds are beautiful, well researched and their distribution
known and hence good for Ecotourism
– i.e. Bird watching a big industry
Cashing in on birds
Why birds (3)
These elegant birds and other
biodiversity need to survive
Birds are beautiful
Birds & IBAs
• The IBA programme is Worldwide project of BirdLife International
• Identifies, monitors and protects a network of critical sites for the
world’s birds
• Nature Kenya’s conservation action for IBAs is both at national and site
level i.e.
Species actions plans
monitoring of IBAs
The development and empowerment of Site Support Groups (SSGs)
linking conservation with development and poverty alleviation thro
income generating activities
Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
• The IBAs are sites of global biodiversity conservation
importance, chosen using agreed-upon, objective,
quantitative and scientifically defensible criteria.
• Aims at identifying, monitoring and protecting a network of
critical sites for the worlds birds
• Sites with high diversity of birds ALSO show high diversity
of plants, mammals and invertebrates life
What makes a Site Qualify?
• 1.0 Globally threatened bird species - species of global
conservation concern/threatened with extinction
• 2.0 Restricted - Range species: Species whose total distribution
range on earth is <50,000KM2
• 3.0 Biome restricted species - Birds Species restricted to
particular broad habitat types.
• 4.0. Congregations of Bird Species-Where large population of
birds occur together annually or seasonally
Kenya’s IBA sites
• Is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to
relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy
and appreciate nature that promotes conservation, has
low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially
active socio-economic involvement of local populations
Characteristics of ecotourism
• Involves travel to natural destinations
• Builds environmental awareness
• Provides direct financial benefits for conservation
• Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local
• Respects local culture
Equipment & Training
Nature-based sustainable enterprises and forest
Birdwatchers at IBAs
Birds, bird watching & Sustainable
Natural Resources use and management
• Ecotourism is a form of tourism that can favour
The communities appreciate biodiversity because of
the monetary benefits/income they get as
Small businesses
Income from accommodation/bandas
• Ecotourism also creates awareness about
biodiversity conservation because of the little
impact it has on the environment
• Basic
• Detailed
• Common Bird Monitoring
Bird Monitoring
Monitoring in Kinangop Grasslands
Monitoring Wetlands
Challenges & Threats to Ecotourism
• Lack of access to markets for local communities involved
in ecotourism
• Lack of capital for local entrepreneurs e.g. Communities
• Changes in culture of local communities
• Mass tourism
• Poor infrastructure (roads, communications etc)
• Lack of capacity – ecotourism still remains a new
concept therefore a lot of awareness raising on its
opportunities needed
• Large areas remain almost unexplored by ornithologists
• Insecurity (e.g. northern Frontiers)
Challenges & Threats to
•Loss and modification of
habitat – forests, wetlands &
moist grasslands.
•Land cover change that
destroys/devalues the integrity
of sites
Threats and challenges to ecotourism
• Alien species (Water hyacinth, House crows)
• Conflict between economically sustainable and
environmentally sustainable
• Pollution by agro-chemicals/industrial wastes i.e.
Lake Naivasha
• Use of chemicals e.g. Furadan, Diclofenac in wildlife
poisoning especially birds and mammals
• Sustainable natural resources is possible and
feasible. Key ingredients are:
Good data
Good planning
Empowering stakeholders to take action
Good decisions at policy level
Thank you!!