Saturday, 11 May 2013




BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat

Photos by Judith Bigler Schmidli and Stefan Rust and text by Stefan Rust 

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

In 1960 researchers in New Zealand found plastic in the stomachs of dead prions for the first time. By mid-1980 research showed that more than 90% of petrels and shearwaters off southern Africa contained plastic. The accumulation of plastic in their stomachs reduces the effective stomach volume. This influences the amount of food they have to consume. But also the toxins and other compounds cause a problem.


Most litter, especially plastic, in coastal waters comes from the main land. Because of the light weight and low density of most plastics, water and wind carries them far from their source area, mainly from land. What makes it even worse is that biological decay happens very slowly.


An entangled and dead Sociable Weaver              Ropes being incorporated in the nest can cause   

It’s not just seabirds that face problems. Entanglement is another big threat. Birds often get caught in litter, causing needless suffering leading to slow death. Discarded fishing line, bags, ropes and bands, basically anything with a loop, can cause problems. A lot of birds incorporate litter in their nests, often entangling their chicks or even themselves.

If we continue pumping litter into the environment, we support the death of many more birds and other wildlife. It is also important to know that by far the majority of marine litter derives from land-based sources.
Uncontrolled release of waste into the environment (littering) is a big problem and education, recycling, reducing and re-using will help solve the problem but will take some time.

Under these conditions, BirdsConTour takes the step of collecting uncontrolled litter wherever and whenever possible to prevent wastes from entering the life cycle of birds.


On the 11th of May 2013 the initiative “BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat” was officially launched. To celebrate this happening, Stefan Rust, founder of BirdsConTour, bird conservation and tourism, together with members of a tour group, chose to clean the big Sociable Weaver nest in Okaukuejo rest camp in the Etosha National Park from ropes. Several birds already got entangled in the litter, which they found lying all over in the camp and incorporated in their nests. This nest is most probably Namibia’s most prominent nest. Many visitors have photographed it and spend some time observing the nest building activities of these busy little Sociable Weavers.

No comments:

Post a Comment