Sehithwa — A Botswana Wildlife Training Institute official has called for concerted efforts to protect migratory birds and their habitats.
The institute's Maun-based acting principal Mr Mpiga Mangubuli said plastic pollution, which remained a major threat to migratory birds and the environment, needed to be addressed at all costs.
He was officiating at a world bird migratory day commemoration in Sehithwa recently.
Botswana, he said was home to about half of the world migratory birds population and therefore critical to the ecosystem.
Some birds which migrated seasonally included Yellow-billed Kite, African Paradise Flycatcher, Lesser Grey-Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher and Jacobin Cuckoo which he said were found at Lake Ngami in the North West District.
Migratory birds, he said, required quality habitats and a network of suitable sites in their fly way when they crossed international borders.
Mr Mangubuli said the birds had the potential to fly over hundreds and thousands of kilometers to find favourable ecological conditions for feeding and breeding.
"Some birds breed in the southern African parts of Africa and migrate to northern wintering grounds to enjoy milder coastal climates in winter while some reside on lowlands during winter months and move up a mountain in summer," he said.
Principal wildlife officer, Mr Mokwaledi Mafa said Botswana was party to international conventions on protection of bird species, including the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds.
Botswana, he said, was critical to the migratory species since two fly ways for the migratory birds passed through the country being the East Atlantic and East African-Asian routes.
Mr Mafa said of the 255 bird species under AEMW worldwide, 93 were found in Botswana.
He noted that migratory birds were crucial for tourism attraction and also had ecological benefits.
The aim of the day was to sensitise North West District primary and junior school learners on migratory birds.
Source : BOPA