Promoting ecotourism to improve community wellbeing and enhancing conservation of the Shoebill at Mabamba Bay

The Shoebill is listed as Vulnerable by  IUCN Red List. This bird is known to prefer large freshwater swamps of grasses, reeds and papyrus, and is well adapted to floating vegetation and Mabamba bay provides this favourable habitat.

Mabamba bay is an Important Bird Area because it contains high diversity of species of birds including globally threatened species such as Shoebill (globally vulnerable), migratory species such Blue Swallow (globally vulnerable) and a generally high species richness comprising over 300 birds. The site contains other species threatened with extinction such as the Vulnerablesitatunga antelope (Tragelaphusspekii) wetland restricted antelope, Critically Endangered Singidia tilapia (Oreochromisesculentus).

Over the years, the NatureUganda (the BirdLife International partner in Uganda) have engaged the community through awareness raising, surveys and monitoring of the site and increasing the national profile of the site at national and global levels. The identification of the site as an IBA and the designation into the Ramsar site were results of such efforts.

Goal of the project

The long term goal of the project is sustainable conservation of Mabamba wetland as a key site for the Shoebills and other biodiversity. 

Expected outcomes

Outcome 1: Contributions of wetlands and species conservation are understood locally and nationally and lessons shared cross the Lake Victoria region.

Outcome 2: Increased awareness of the importance of wetlands, land-use planning and diversification of livelihood improvement opportunities and support to community-based conservation of sites and species that improves their wellbeing: Community institution strengthened with established linkages to local governments and other conservation organizations, share information and lessons leant, guidance and capacity for community-based management and conservation of wetlands and species is improved.