Migratory birds travel vast distances in their lifetimes – some reaching more than 700,000 km, which is as far as the moon and back. These avian travellers visit major cities and rural habitats across the globe – each with their own journey plans, arrival and departure dates and habitats. There are many dangers that await these migratory birds along their way – these include the disappearance of their ‘stop-over’ sites where they usually rest and feed, changes in land use, climate change, illegal hunting and trapping, pollution and by-catch from fisheries.
In an effort to raise awareness about migratory birds and the linkages with tourism – both in terms of birds’ effects on tourism and the effect of tourism on birds – the theme for World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2014 is “Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism”. Migratory bird conservation, local community development and wildlife watching tourism around the world are inter-linked and it is critical to understand these relationships and to work with communities who live in or near destination flyways to achieve effective, sustainable, equitable conservation.
Tourism developed around migratory birds can be a vehicle for both environmental and socio-economic sustainability, benefitting wildlife, local communities and tourists alike. World Migratory Bird Day 2014 will highlight through the “Destination Flyways” project the vast potential to harness bird-related tourism to help conserve migratory birds while at the same time supporting local communities. The Destination Flyways projects will promote sustainable tourism for local communities at eight important migratory bird sites in Africa, Asia and Europe that migratory birds need in order to survive. Destination Flyways sites in Africa include: Lake Natron in Tanzania, Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary in Senegal and Ras Mohamed National Park in Egypt.
World Migratory Bird Day is co-oragnised by UNEP, The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and The African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). This year the campaign is also collaborating with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to highlight its Destination Flyways project.