More UK birds relocating to Ghana

Research findings by the Birdlife International indicates that about a quarter of British birds, which fly annually across the Atlantic, end up in Ghana and not returning to Britain.

Every year, about a million birds of various species travel from Europe mainly, from Britain to the south of Sahara. Many species that breed in the UK make a journey through Europe, across the Mediterranean and the North of Africa, before tackling the mighty Sahara and finally arriving in Ghana. According to the research, some of the bird continues on into other parts of Africa, but many choose to stay the entire Northern winter in Ghana.

The Director of Conservation at the Birdlife International, Dr. Richard Grimmett made the disclosure at this year’s British Birdwatching at Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre in England the

The fair was organised by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. Hundreds of stands exhibited extensive bird life and activities, from scopes to sculptures and binoculars. The theme for the event was “Migratory birds and the protection o the flyways”

The organisation has therefore instituted a project to help conserve birds in Ghana and other part of the sub region. The project dubbed ‘Surviving the Sahara’ will focus on the dry lands and the associated floodplains south of the Sahara, with a particular emphasis on the Sahel and Guinea Savannah in the Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria.

Ghana has already signed an International Convention on Migration Species, and Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Professor Kwaku Danso Boafo was invited by the organisation to take part of the fair and to take part in the discussion of the project.

Three Birdlife partners in the region will implement ‘Surviving the Sahara’. Foundations des Amis de la nature (NATURAMA) in Burkina Faso, Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) and the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF). They will be supported by the BirdLife Secretariat in Nairobi, Accra and Cambridge as well as by the BirdLife partners in Europe in the form of technical advice, advocacy and communications.

In Burkina Faso, the Sahel embraces several IBAs which contain lakes and rivers. Large number of the migrants uses the lakes annually including at least 47 species of water birds. These are the most threatened IBAs in Burkina Faso because of the increase human pressure around most of the lakes.

Dr. Richard Grimmett said in, Ghana, project activities will focus on the Gambaga Scarp East Forest and the Tankwidi Forest Reserve IBAs in the extreme north of the country, which are mainly threatened by illegal activities including gold mining and overgrazing. GWS will initially concentrate on the monitoring and research, but as the need of the migrants are better understood, conservation activities will be advanced.

He said, Birdfair will be a fantastic opportunity for conservation organisations from Ghana in particular and Africa in general to highlight their own concerns for declining migratory birds and demonstrate their ability to act in collaboration with the European Partners with whom they share these birds. Said Richard Grimmett, Director of Conservation at the BirdLife International

Professor Danso Boafo welcomed the project and described it as laudable. He said, there was no wonder of the birds choosing to stay in Ghana after flying from the UK. According to him, Ghana has a rich record in conservation and is also “a proud signatory’ to the Conservation on Biological Diversity and Conservation on the Migratory Species.

He said Ghana was the first country in the west of Africa where the RSPB started its activities. He added that Ghana has been engaged in coastal wetland conservation for many years.

The High Commissioner announced that the Government of Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Wildlife Society and other groups have monitored bird population along the coastline for over twenty years to help address the challenges in birds conservation.