... reminisces Abia, shaking her head and laughing. It didn’t matter to the passionate birder from Uganda that the walk was so arduous, as the reward of seeing the rare bird was so worth it. “The Fox’s weaver, or the Ugandan weaver as it is sometimes known, is Uganda’s only endemic bird species, so people are willing to take a few detours to see it,” explains the young environmentalist, who works as a tour guide in Uganda.
As part of her work as a guide, Abia shares her extensive knowledge of Uganda’s flora and fauna with visitors from all over the world. By showing people just how fascinating the world around them is, she hopes to inspire visitors and encourage them to protect our planet for future generations. She is always telling personal stories from her childhood and her country to emphasize this. For example, in Uganda they say someone has the voice of a Robin-chat if they can sing really well. And if you’ve ever heard this bird sing, you’ll understand why. “It’s stories like these that our visitors take home with them and that help them to appreciate the diversity of species all the more. And to protect them,” believes Abia.
The dedicated activist is captivated by the many National Parks in Uganda. “All of the parks are good birding spots,” explains Abia. “You’ll also discover lots of other animals as well. As a passionate birder, I love going into the forest, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is my preferred destination.” The section of the Albertine Rift in this National Park is home to numerous endemic species, so even Abia discovers something new – and unique – every time she visits.
“When I was younger and I had a decision to make, I always used to go to a particular piece of land near my parents’ house,” says Abia in response to being asked about her own personal Birding Patch. The young birder grew up in a part of the country that most tourists visit to marvel at the primate population. But Abia was much more interested in the winged inhabitants and would observe up to 30 different species in just an hour in her favorite spot.
Abia is 28 years old and lives in Western Uganda. As part of her job as a tour guide, she travels all over Uganda and applies great dedication and passion to bringing people closer to the natural world of her country and its inhabitants. The young bird expert studied environmental science and has worked in tourism for over six years. She is a proud member of the Uganda Safari Guides Association and the Uganda Women Birders club. Abia wants not only to communicate her knowledge but also to make a contribution to the ongoing research into the flora and fauna in her country. “Only those who are open to new things and who never stop learning will be able to conserve the planet for future generations,” believes the Ugandan.