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South Africa Celebrates World Migratory Birds Day 2024

11 May 2024

South Africa joins nations worldwide in commemorating World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) on 11 May 2024.  Under the theme: Protect Insects, Protect Birds, this year's campaign led by the United Nations Environment Programme's Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals underscores the critical interdependence between migratory birds and insect populations.

Insects play a vital role in the survival of migratory bird species, providing essential energy sources during extensive migrations and breeding seasons. However, the alarming decline in insect populations globally poses a significant threat to migratory birds. Intensive agriculture, urban development, and pesticide and herbicide use have all contributed to the loss and disturbance of insect habitats, jeopardising the survival and well-being of the birds.

"We need collaborative efforts to mitigate the factors contributing to insect decline. Through the conservation of insects, we can safeguard the intricate web of life that sustains migratory birds and ecosystems worldwide," said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

South Africa, home to numerous migratory birds, including shrikes, swallows, nightjars and cuckoos, recognises the urgency of addressing declining insect populations. As such, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is currently in the process of developing, together with relevant stakeholders, the National Plan for the Implementation of Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). The plan, aligned with the White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa's Biodiversity, will outline improved strategic responses to maintain migratory waterbird species at, or restore them, to a favourable conservation status.

The Work Plan for National Wildlife Poisoning Prevention Working Group addresses the use of pesticides, herbicides and agrochemicals by ensuring that registered pesticides and other poisonous substances are responsibly imported, sold, stored, used and disposed.

This year, WMBD will be celebrated on 11 May and 12 October 2024 aligning with the cyclic nature of bird migration in different hemispheres.

For media enquiries, contact:

Peter Mbelengwa
Mobile: 082 611 8197


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