Friday, October 19, 2007
Ugandan Cranes Declining Due to "Witch Doctors"
Uganda's national bird, the gray crowned crane, is threatened by "witch doctors" and commercial poachers, a new report says.
Commonly known as the crested crane, the bird's image adorns memorabilia, clothing, and souvenirs in the East African country. It's also the mascot for the national soccer team.
In the past decade, though, the crane population in Uganda has fallen from 50,000 to 20,000, primarily due to witch doctors—also known as traditional healers—who use the animals in folk medicine and poachers who take the birds from their natural habitat.
Development has also encroached onto the cranes' wetland habitat.
"The gray crowned crane is getting in more and more trouble," said Achilles Byaruhanga, director of the Kampala-based nonprofit organization Nature Uganda, which co-authored the report with the Wildlife Conservation Trust and the International Crane Foundation.