As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Zambia: Ikelenge At Risk of Losing 99 Percent Bird Species

A BIRD activist has warned that Zambia risks losing 99 per cent of bird species whose habitat is restricted to Ikelenge District if precautionary measures are not put in place before Jimbe Minerals Limited (JML) starts operations in the area.

Kelvin Mkandawire, a birder representing Bird Watch Zambia, expressed concern during a public consultative meeting in Salujhinga area in Ikelenge at the weekend.

Mr Mkandawire said in as much as setting up of the mine in the area was welcome it was a potential threat to the Guineo-Congolian bird species.

"I know that the coming of the mine is good news, but not for the birds of course because mining and birds actually don't get together.

"I would like to highlight that your mining license area actually captures the entire Important Bird Area (IBA) because Jimbe is an IBA," he said.

Mr Mkandawire who is a logistics officer at Bird Watch Zambia said Jimbe was listed as the fourth IBA in Zambia and 31st in Africa.

Jimbe IBA is also home to more than 300 other bird species and Zambia has a total of 42 IBAs.

"The significance of this Important Bird Area is that it's the only one in Zambia that has the Guineo-Congolian Biome and in Zambia there are 17 Guineo-Congolian species and Jimbe (IBA) holds 16 of them," Mr Mkandawire said.

The 17th Guineo-Congolian specie in Zambia is found at Lusenga National Park in Northern Province.

Mr Mkandawire informed the gathering that the proposed mining area had the Muhonge Local Forest and that people in Salujhinga got raw materials from the area to manufacture the Salujhinga chair, among other crafts.

In response, the seemingly shaken JML mining and exploration manager Bernard Kazenene said setting up of the mine in the area was not being forced on the community.

Mr Kazenene said the purpose of the consultative meeting was to get views from residents before an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study was conducted.

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