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Learn About Rwanda’s Crested Crane

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The crested crane was for centuries an important symbol of pride, peace and longevity in Rwanda. In the old tales the crane is repeatedly narrated with attachment to majestic beauty.

In precolonial Rwanda, the Crane had made its way to form part of the monarch seal.

It majestically stood on the right while of the left the lion flashed its mane and pouncing paws holding tight onto the drum- the symbol of power of the absolute monarch.

The country has since 1962 turned into a republic.

Rwanda is home to the grey crowned crane with specifications of about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs), and has a wingspan of 2 m (6.5 ft). Its body plumage is mainly grey. The wings are predominantly white, but contain feathers with a range of colours, with a distinctive black patch at the very top.

The head has a crown of stiff golden feathers. The sides of the face are white, and there is a bright red inflatable throat pouch. The bill is relatively short and grey, and the legs are black. They have long legs for wading through the grasses.

The feet are large, yet slender, adapted for balance rather than defence or grasping. The sexes are similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Young birds are greyer than adults, with a feathered buff face.

The grey crowned crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing, and jumping. It has a booming call which involves inflation of the red gular sac. It also makes a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane species.

Both sexes dance, and immature birds join the adults. Dancing is an integral part of courtship, but also may be done at any time of the year. Flocks of 30–150 birds are not uncommon.

These cranes are omnivores, eating plants, seeds, grain, insects, frogs, worms, snakes, small fish and the eggs of aquatic animals. Stamping their feet as they walk, they flush out insects which are quickly caught and eaten.

The birds also associate with grazing herbivores, benefiting from the ability to grab prey items disturbed by antelopes and gazelles. They spend their entire day looking for food. At night, the crowned crane spends its time in the trees sleeping and resting.

For the past decades the crested crane has not been a bird of its precolonial status and has been competing with humans encroaching and depleting its natural habitat.

The bird had become a mere domestic trophy -316 captive Grey Crowned Cranes have been registered throughout Rwanda.

Government, launched a media campaign and amnesty, calling people to declare any captive cranes they had. All captive cranes in Rwanda have been registered, assessing the cranes’ health status and fitting them with a unique numbered leg band for easy future identification.

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Environment

DRC’s Conservation Chief Resigns From ICCN

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Reports reaching Taarifa confirm that Cosma Wilungula, Director General of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) temporarily suspended by his supervisory authority, has just resigned from his post.

In a correspondence which he addressed respectively to the President and to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Wilungula said his decision to resign was triggered by an unhealthy climate which has developed between him and his supervisers saying makes it impossible for him to serve his country.

“I note that by this unhealthy climate which is developing between this ministerial authority towards myself, I can no longer continue to serve my country in this post for the time being. That’s why, I personally judged to present my resignation to you as CEO of ICCN ”, he explained his decision.

Wilungula also returned to the accusations against him which earned him the preventive suspension.

“The serious breaches of regulatory duties and mismanagement are in no way justified because, in fact, during my mandate I have never been the subject of disciplinary action, let alone any disciplinary sanction whatsoever”, he noted.

In his letter of resignation, the director general still praises his sixteen years of management of this public establishment.

“I left the ICCN at the level where, despite sporadic state subsidies, but with the tireless support of partners, under my aegis, we achieved several records that there is no need for everything indicate here, but including the most recent for illustration, the electrification of a large part of the province of North Kivu, by the creation of four hydroelectric power stations and the removal of the Salonga National Park from the world heritage list in danger,” he said.

A few days ago, Eve Bazaiba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, set up a joint commission to rule on the case of Cosma Wilungula, and later suspended him.

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Environment

Ecological Governance Boosts Fight Against Climate Change

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I report, “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis”, which was released on Aug 9, is the most authoritative study on climate change, and will help improve global environmental governance and prompt countries to negotiate climate treaties.

The IPCC report is expected to be high on the agenda of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in October-November.

Compared with the previous IPCC reports, the latest one emphasises that many of the impacts of human activities on climate change are irreversible, indicating that the global fight against climate change needs to be strengthened to prevent further damage to the environment.

Natural disasters and extreme weather events such as cyclones, unusually heavy downpours, record high temperatures and uncontrollable forest fires have become more frequent in recent years due to climate change.

To combat climate change, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Fiji and other economies have enacted climate change policies and set specific carbon emission targets.

On Sept 22, 2020, while addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping said China will increase its nationally determined contributions (which according to the Paris Agreement embody a country’s efforts to reduce national emissions and adapt to climate change), and take measures to ensure its carbon emissions peak before 2030 and realise carbon neutrality before 2060.

Compared with other countries, China’s intervening period between peak emissions and carbon neutrality is shorter. So China has to make arduous efforts to achieve the two goals.

China has included the two goals into national development plans and policy documents, such as the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035; the Guiding Opinions on the Coordination and Strengthening of the Work related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection; and the Notice on Implementing Pilot Environmental Impact Assessment of Carbon Emission of Construction Projects in Key Industries issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Also, some provinces have worked out road maps and action plans for reducing emissions. For example, Zhejiang province has devised a peak carbon neutralisation scientific and technological innovation action plan, Hebei province has worked out a plan called “Measures for Coordinating and Strengthening Work Related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection”, and Chongqing municipality has made carbon emissions a part of the environmental impact evaluation and included it in the criteria to grant pollution discharge permits.

China’s national carbon emissions trading system, which officially started operations on July 16, has the potential to play a key role in achieving China’s long-term climate goals-of peaking emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.

Under the guidance of the government, Chinese companies are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, with many companies in the energy generating and household appliance manufacturing sectors working out their road maps to achieve their respective targets of carbon neutrality.

And many retail companies and other organisations have introduced incentive plans to motivate consumers to buy energy-saving and low-carbon products to boost green consumption and encourage a low-carbon lifestyle.

All this in order to help the country achieve its climate targets as soon as possible.

To achieve “net-zero emissions”, however, China will need to undergo a profound economic and social transformation. And to choose the right path to carbon neutrality, China should reform key industries such as energy, transportation and construction, modify the production and consumption structure, and upgrade the technological standards.

As for specific measures, the role of the economy and the rule of law should be given full play by, for instance, improving laws, standard systems and government supervision, strengthening the market mechanisms including the green certificates and carbon emissions trading systems, and increasing publicity and education.

To better tackle climate change, we need the joint efforts of governments, NGOs, businesses, and people around the world. However, due to their different interests, political systems and technology development levels, many countries have not taken adequate, effective measures to combat climate change.

As Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said at a news conference on Aug 9, only 110 of the 191 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have submitted new or updated nationally determined contributions ahead of the Glasgow climate conference.

In addition, exchanges and cooperation among countries in terms of funding, technology and human resources related to climate change also need to be strengthened to boost the global fight against climate change.

 

Yue Xiaohua is an associate professor at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Environment

Kenya’s Snake-Eagle Fight Ends Bitterly

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In Kenya, a fight involving a snake and an eagle has ended bitterly with a government employee injured and fighting for his dear life.

According to a local publication The citizen, a struggle involving an eagle and a snake that eventually landed on the car of a Kitui County government employee minding his own business has left many tongues wagging.

David Musyoka, a driver attached to the county government said that he was driving towards Mwingi town when a snake freed itself from the talons of an eagle and dropped on top of his car.

According to Musyoka, before he could do anything, the snake found its way inside the car and bit his left arm.

He immediately stopped the car and jumped out with the snake still hanging onto his arm and called for help.

Nearby residents of Kwa Mbungu market rushed to his rescue and killed the snake then gave him first aid.

However, in a shocking turn of events, the residents said the eagle emerged out of nowhere again and picked the dead snake right back up and flew away with it.

The management of Mwingi Level IV Hospital, where Musyoka was admitted, has since said the snake bite has been fully treated and the patient is recuperating well.

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