BATOKA Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) has resolved to hire ornithologists to help conserve the Taita Falcon birds from extinction along the Zambezi River basin.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
This was revealed last week by BGHES engineer, Christopher Chinsense, indicating that scientific environmental evidence has been carried out and proved that the avifauna birds existed, but was fast disappearing due to human activity in the Zambezi River.
He said the general decline in the population of Taita Falcon since 1995 has been attributed to flooding of reservoirs.
“Batoka Gorge area is listed under Important Bird Area (IBA) of the continental significance by Childes and Mundy 2001 based on the on the presence of breeding Taita Falcons (Falco fasciinucha), a threatened and range restricted species.
“And that being the case, we will have minor challenges, but mitigatory measures are being put in place. The Taita Falcon has been enlisted and the most delicate species and fast disappearing in the world and we have been strongly cautioned against being contributors of it disappearing,” he said.
“We have put up measures to implement the Taita Falcon monitoring programme and ornithologist specialists will be fully involved in experimental creation of artificial nestling facilities for these few birds on the dam wall and in the cliffs in suitable areas that do not jeopardise natural nestling habitat.”
The project’s chief executive, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said approximately two million jobs will be created during the seven-year construction period and priority will be given to locals sin the Zambezi River environs.
He added that international, regional and local contractors had since sent their application forms and vetting process was underway.
BGHES was proposed back 1992 by Zimbabwe and Zambia with a memorandum of agreement signed in 2012 to pave way for its development which is likely to begin next year at an estimated cost of $3 602 858.