In Uganda’s Hoima District, 300 chimpanzees (including the Bulindi community) cling to survival in the face of enormous pressure from their human neighbours. Monitoring these chimpanzees is essential for their health and survival.
As well as our long-term monitoring of the Bulindi chimpanzee community, this year we started monitoring two other chimp communities in Hoima and we aim to begin monitoring a fourth community later this year.
As volunteer Field Operations Manager, Georgia says: “Chimpanzee monitoring isn't easy! It requires basic tracking knowledge, a good understanding of chimpanzee behaviour, and a lot of patience. Our chimpanzee monitors are in constant contact with local villagers and often have to act as ambassadors for the chimpanzees as well. At BCCP we believe in strengthening the skills and abilities of field staff through capacity building. Our tiered training program not only provides junior staff with the necessary tools to perform in a complex social and ecological landscape, it also encourages senior monitors to develop strong leadership skills.”
These images show Vincent (who monitors the Wagaisa chimpanzee community) mentoring our newest chimpanzee monitor, Isaac.
MAN LIKE MOSES
Chimpanzees are long-lived animals and mature slowly. One of the joys of following their lives over many years is watching youngsters grow up.
We first identified Moses (pictured) in 2012 when he was still a juvenile. Six years later, he's developed into a handsome young adult, albeit still with some growing up to do.
The Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project strives to help villagers coexist with chimpanzees where people and chimps share landscapes outside of protected areas. We hope we'll be able to see many other young chimps grow into adulthood in the years to come.
NEW FACES, NEW CHALLENGES
In Uganda's Hoima District, ten or more groups of wild chimps cling narrowly to survival in disappearing habitat around villages (the total population is around 300 individuals). The Bulindi chimpanzees are just one of these groups.
This year we began working in three new areas to help conserve more of Hoima's imperilled chimpanzees. One of the groups in desperate circumstances are the Wagaisa chimps, whom we're just starting to get to know. These unfortunate chimps are under unimaginable pressure: virtually all their natural forest was cut down, logged for timber and converted to farmland. Their range is criss-crossed with ever-busier roads and local rivers and swamps are polluted by a 'gin' distillery which operates without regard to its environmental impact. The Wagaisa chimps seek cover in exotic eucalyptus plantations that will too be cut for fuelwood for the factory. Turning this dire situation around presents an enormous challenge, but we're determined to find solutions to help these poor chimps.
Huge thanks to Nancy Merrick and all the team at Friends of Chimps for helping us raise funds to expand the project this year.