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Grey Crowned Crane and Shoebills Conservation Status and Linkage to Livelihoods of Lake Victoria Shores Adjacent Communities in Mayuge District, Eastern Uganda

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: This research was done among communities living adjacent to Lake Victoria Shores in Mayuge District to generate knowledge on Shoebill, Grey Crowned Crane conservation status and linkage to livelihoods. This knowledge was necessary to guide design and implementation of interventions that would deliver on the species conservation and adjacent communities’ livelihood benefits at the same time. We obtained information through individual interviews with 101 members of households from targeted communities and key informers-technical officials from the district, and analysed this data using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) by Bryman and Cramer, (2011) Version 20. The results were then subjected to validation using focus group discussions with 10 groups of between 8 - 15 individuals representing the targeted communities and other stakeholders and the results from this further validated with ≥250 representatives of these stakeholders in a one day workshop and with evidences collected during field observations, before synthesis. The findings show: Grey Crowned Crane habitats declining due to mining, agriculture, fishing activities by adjacent communities for their livelihoods (food and income from sale of produce obtained from the species’ habitats). The communities say they need to be engaged in development and implementation of integrated interventions that will improve their livelihoods while securing conservation for Grey Crowned Cranes. They among others propose ecotourism enterprises, training and sensitization on environment and wildlife conservation practices, policies and laws to enhance their knowledge and compliance in management. The fisher folk say fish is often found within Grey Crowned Cranes’ habitats and breeding grounds in the Lake and to avoid destroying the habitats, they need engine boats and standard fishing nets to enable fishing far away in the deeper waters. Crop farming communities say they need commercial, soil fertility improving tree species to plant boundary to the buffer zones so that they can prevent cultivation encroachment on Grey Crowned Crane habitats in the Lake Shores. The findings also reveal need for Grey Crowned Crane population structure studies, and, that of shoebill presence to determine management strategies for their survival in habitats.

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