Deadly Ebola virus hits western Uganda. First RFCG Ecotour goes ahead

4 Aug

A Black headed waxbill seen at Bwindi. Photo taken by Professor Ernst Kruger

Ebola virus claims more than 14 lives in Ugandan rural community

Over the past 3 weeks the dreaded African Ebola virus has claimed the lives of 14 people in the western region of Uganda. The Kibale region , which is approximately 50 km from the Democratic Republic of the Congo ( DRC ) border and 200km west of Kampala experienced the outbreak amongst one particular rural family.The virus causes internal and external bleeding and spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected people. The rare disease of the blood, named after a small river in the DRC, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000

Needless to say, after months of planning the first RFCG EcoTour to South Africa and Uganda, this news was the last thing that we needed to hear. Fortunately according to the World Health Organisation and Uganda’s Ministry of Health the situation is apparently under control. Given the fact that the RFCG EcoTour will not be travelling to the western part of Uganda, but to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is in the very southern part of the country it was decided to proceed with the birding safari

This pioneering fund-raising tour was sold out within two weeks of it being announced and it is hoped, that should the tour be a success, that more will be organised in the years ahead. Starting on Monday 6 August the first group of 9 finch enthusiasts will be travelling to a number of top avicultural facilities in South Africa before heading up to Uganda. Not only do we hope to see some of the 43 finch species that have been sighted at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest , but we also hope to see some of the spectacular hornbills, parrots as well as the fabled Great Blue Turaco

All the guests will be coming from Australia and the tour coordinators are RFCG directors Russell Kingston and Eelco Meyjes. Over the past three years RFCG directors have visited the selected areas both in South Africa as well as in Uganda on a number of occasions and the tour, hopefully, should prove to be an exciting and rewarding experience for these pioneering finch enthusiasts, of which some have never been to Africa before. Who knows with a bit of luck we may even see the elusive and threatened Shelley’s crimsonwing finch

The fabled Great Blue Turaco can be seen in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest . Photo taken by Russell Kingston

World’s only known photograph of the Shelley’s crimsonwing. Visual courtesy http://www.gorilla.org

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2 Responses to “Deadly Ebola virus hits western Uganda. First RFCG Ecotour goes ahead”

  1. Brenton August 5, 2012 at 04:39 #

    I hope the tour will be a tremendous success and the first of many.

    • eelcomeyjes August 5, 2012 at 07:56 #

      Thanks Brenton . Everyone is very excited . The tour ends on 21 August. Hopefully I may be in a position to update the blog on the odd occasion. Always appreciate your support. Eelco

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