Rwanda through its Ministry of Environment has reported an increase in number of grey crowned cranes, which has doubled in the last five years.
Statistics that were presented during biodiversity day at the 27th UN Climate change conference held in Egypt last week indicated that the crowned crane population was 487 between 2017 and 2018. The population increased to 1,066 birds in 2022.
Although different studies have indicated that the crane bird is most liked by tourists, its population has decreased globally, but Rwanda is defying the odds.
According to BBC report, the population is reducing at greater speed because of not protecting their sanctuaries. Uganda which has the grey crowned crane as emblem has so far lost 40% of its crane sanctuaries and while the crane population globally is estimated to be about twenty thousand(20,000).
Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment created crane sanctuaries and one of them ‘Umusambi Village’ located in the City of Kigali has been reserved to protect the Grey Crowned Crane population and being a haven for wetland biodiversity.
According to Olivier Nsengimana, Executive Director Rwanda Wildlife Association, the crane bird was nearing extinction because of people who capture and keep them domestically.
“We have rescued over 300 Cranes from captivity, Rwanda now has over 800 swamps, serving as sanctuary for the cranes. They include Akanyaru, Nyabarongo, Rweru, Mugesera, Nyagatare, Rudenzi and Rugezi located in the Akagera national park”, Said Nsengimana.
Nsengimana further said that birdwatchers in Rwanda like visiting crane sanctuaries and he believes this earns the country a lot of revenue.
Rwanda Development Board reported that the country earned $164 million from tourism in 2021. The number of tourists also increased from 490,000 in 2020 to 512,000 in 2021.