In a tragic incident that has sparked outrage among wildlife conservationists, eleven grey-crested cranes, the national symbol of Uganda, have been found dead in Lwengo District.
These majestic birds, along with other waterfowl, fell victim to a poisoning method believed to involve rice grains as bait. Their lifeless bodies were discovered with twisted necks and folded wings, confirming the cause of death as poisoning.
The authorities, determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, have initiated a rigorous investigation and are working closely with the local community to apprehend those responsible.
The grey-crested crane holds immense significance for Uganda, being one of the country’s endangered bird species and a symbol of national pride.
However, the population of these magnificent birds has been steadily declining due to various factors, including illegal hunting. As the flagship attraction in Lwengo district, their presence draws tourists and contributes to the local economy. It is crucial to protect these iconic creatures and preserve their natural habitat.
The Crane Foundation, an organization dedicated to monitoring and safeguarding crested cranes, has expressed deep concern over the recurring incidents of crane killings.
Despite the existence of strict penalties, including potential life imprisonment, the foundation emphasizes that individuals continue to brazenly disregard the law and perpetrate these heinous acts.
Prompt action has been taken by the local authorities in collaboration with residents of Nabyewanga village, where the birds were discovered. A thorough investigation is underway, and the police have launched a manhunt to apprehend all those responsible for this heinous crime.
In response to the devastating incident, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has dispatched a team of investigators from Lake Mburo National Park to Lwengo district to ascertain the cause and magnitude of the incident.
Hangi Bashir, the spokesperson for UWA, emphasized the seriousness of the crime, stating that anyone found guilty will be brought to book and could face life imprisonment.
This tragic event is not an isolated incident. Last year, more than 20 crested cranes fell victim to a similar act of cruelty, and in 2021 alone, over 108 cranes lost their lives.