Gov’t, CSOs urged to Support Conservation of Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees in their habitat

Government and Civil Society organisations have been urged to support individuals and families that have championed the conservation of Chimpanzees that have continued to be an endangered spices.

The call was made during the 5th National stakeholders’ dialogue on conservation of the Chimpanzees using culture and community resources organised by the Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) with support from Arcus Foundation.

The high level dialogue was focusing on presenting emerging chimpanzee conservation strategies and creating a platform for dialogue between national and grassroots chimpanzee conservationists with view to influence policy and practice.

Speaking during the dialogue, CCFU Executive Director, Barbra Babwetera Mutaambi highlighted that the chimpanzees are among the greatly endangered species in Uganda and the whole world which may become extinct if not well conserved.

According to statistics, there are less than 30,000 chimpanzees in the world and Uganda hosts 5,000 chimpanzees which is very big blessing to Uganda in terms of tourism.

“Chimpanzees are greatly endangered because their habitat has been destroyed, they are now exposed more to human interaction and yet humans fear them that they are dangerous; therefore the war that arises between human beings and chimpanzees fighting for resources, fighting for food, fighting for even where to sleep is a sign that we need to do something,” Babwetera said.

During the meeting, it was highlighted that there is need for communities need to learn how to relate with the chimpanzees in the event that they come to their communities not to harm them since by research its proven that a chimpanzee that you don’t harm can never harm you.

“As communities they also need to plant back trees where they have cut them down, where the corridors have been demolished so that chimpanzees because they are always on the move they have spaces where to move, spaces where to eat, spaces where to sleep so that they don’t continually interface with them,” Babwetera said.

She urged civil society and government to offer support to the communities by providing them with alternative livelihood interventions that would support them to maintain their forests and not cut them down for wood or for other human activities.

Members also appealed to the government especially local government to scale up monitoring the abuse of wetlands where chimpanzees go to find food and water.

Babwetera highlighted that need to foster the implementation of a number of policies and practices that government has designed to conserve the highly endangered species like the Chimpanzee.

“I think when it comes to the law or policies the gap is not as big as the need to implement particular initiatives that contribute towards enhancing or protecting the chimpanzees and their life and their habitat,” Babwetera noted.

She added that policies in Uganda expire after 10 years and some of the laws and policies that protect the chimpanzee are soon expiring and the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is in progress or is putting up plans to review the conservation policies.

George Owoyesigire, the commissioner of the wildlife authority at the Ministry of Tourism, revealed that the ministry is reviewing the Wildlife Policy with the  review process generating a number of views and recommendations that will shape the future  conservation of the chimpanzees and other species.

The dialogue was attended by officials and members from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Atinquities, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Ministry of Water and Environment, Chimpanzee Trust, Jane Goodall Institute, Friends of Chimpanzee Family and Village Enterprise among others.


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