The massive Cutting down of Nyaituma and Nyakakonge private forest in Bulindi, that is a key habitat for the conservation of chimpanzees resulted into increase of human wildlife conflicts that left communities in Bulindi, in Hoima district grapple with encounters with chimpanzees coming to their home steads competing for fruits, raiding their crops and grabbing their children.
This poses a double threat both to the community and the Chimpanzees that sometimes get exposed to the danger of being killed, yet a very important key species that need safe habitat and protection.
This came at time when fresh incidence happened in Mparangasi village that left Ayebale Prisca nurse wounds for her 3-year-old child Anthony Mujuni, who had been injured by the chimpanzees. Whereas the family received compensation inform of bills for treatment by UWA, threats could aggravate that will cause more wildlife havoc in the village.
In response, on 22/04/2021 Environment Governance Institute with support from IUCN Save Our Species and co-funded by the European Union, partnered with UWA, in community engagement that brought together local leaders, women group representatives, chimp trackers from Kyamalera wild Life Education Center to discuss possible ways of abating the conflicts.
Consequently, EGI supported over 10 groups of people with Organic fruit tree seedlings that will help them diversify their livelihoods and earn income as well as food. In Bulindi community surrounding the chimp corridors EGI supplied 300 fruit seedlings including passion fruits, mangoes, jack fruits, guavas, pawpaw’s and Oranges as well as other 200 Wood lots tree seedlings, an initiative community said would restore the degraded corridors and reduce competition for fruits between Chimpanzees with households in Bulindi and double as mitigative measure that will lessen the chimps from coming to their homesteads for fruits and end up carrying their babies due to an increased buffer zoon that will be provided by the trees.
The ultimate goal will be restored chimpanzee habitats and reduced tendency of chimps in encroaching the homestead. EGI further sensitized the communities to reduce the aspect of revenging on the chimps as it will attract fines and imprisonment as per the wild life act 2019.
Bulindi community members participating in fruit tree seedling planting
|Group Photo of community members with some of the fruit seedlings that EGI provided them to plant in the degraded corridors of chimpanzees
The community appreciated EGI and noted that they are going to plant the fruits seedlings as groups in their households and part of them in the chimpanzee surrounding degraded territories, upon negotiation with private forest owners, a move that will increase their income as group and boost food security while conserving and co-existing with the Chimpanzee Species.
I therefore call upon UWA, NFA and other concerned civil society Organizations to train communities on how to co-exist with wild life and scale up massive re-afforestation of the degraded Nyaituma and Nyakakonge forests to curb the above threats.
By Shadia Nakazibwe, program assistant at Environment Governance Institute (EGI)
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union through IUCN Save Our Species. its contents are the sole responsibility of Environment Governance Institute and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN or the European Union