Protect Uganda’s elephants and chimpanzees
The African elephant is categorized as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List which means action is necessary to prevent it from becoming endangered. The Eastern chimpanzee is already categorized as endangered, so in this case, action is also very important. Elephant and chimpanzee populations are mainly threatened by illegal poaching, loss of habitat through deforestation, population growth and human-wildlife conflicts. Human-wildlife conflicts are one of the biggest challenges that wildlife is facing in the target zone. Human-wildlife conflicts are becoming immense, especially regarding the destruction of crops and lost human lives and are therefore calling for action. Another problem coming along with these human-wildlife conflicts is that people kill the animals as revenge for their destroyed crops and also due to the wildlife killing humans, this prompts people to have no mercy for the animals in place. Which means, they need to have behavioural change training, to learn how to co-exist with wildlife.
Looking at Uganda the elephant population has taken a drastic hit since the 1970s, mainly through commercial poaching. However, since the beginning of the 2000s population numbers have started to rise again. Nevertheless, challenges remain, mainly fighting poaching and habitat loss/degradation which results in the disruption of migratory routes of elephants. WCS conservation scientist, Andrew Plumptre, has surveyed populations of Eastern chimpanzees in most of the countries where they occur. He estimates that there are 5,000 individuals in Uganda.
Elephants and chimpanzees are of great importance for Uganda, as well ecologically as economically. This project contributes to the protection of these species by conducting population research and implementing initiatives that reduce human-wildlife conflicts. It focuses on four result areas.
- Increase the knowledge base on the African elephant and the Eastern chimpanzee populations.
- Implement conservation initiatives that reduce human-wildlife conflicts
- Increase local awareness and generate alternative livelihoods
- Connect forest corridors by tree planting
The project takes place in Western Uganda that hosts different national parks with significant elephant and chimpanzee populations.