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News from Ngamba Island, Uganda’s one and only chimp refuge
Maintenance works at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary
The new chimpanzee electric fence was rewired to make it more efficient. Thanks to Friends of CSWCT, we have now noted that there has been a decrease in chimpanzee escapes.
We also acquired new batteries for the solar system at the sanctuary and more new panels to boost the capacity of the system. This was supported by JGI and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
September seems to have gone so fast. Our hands have been full through the month and here is an update of what we have been upto.
Mika (alpha male) goes missing
On the morning on 22nd September, the alpha male Mika was observed slapping his best friend Natasha during the 8:00am feeding. This got Natasha screaming to get protection from the community. Later though, the dual reached a compromise and the entire community of chimps left the feeding area and entered deep inside the forest. They could only be heard making friendly calls from the forest.
Nevertheless, the long term leader did not return for the next feeding and has gone missing since then. The other chimps seem to know where the alpha is and there is not much commotion in the community but the caregivers do not know what is exactly happening to the alpha male who has, with determination, controlled his subordinates since 2003.
The caregivers have experienced something of the sort with Eddie and some young chimps going missing and later reappear, but disappearing of the alpha male alone leaves the caregivers worried.
Could it be that he wants to be alone for a while or could he be feeling unwell and treating himself within the forest or too weak to walk or maybe he is giving a chance to the other potential males to prove their capabilities of becoming the alpha.
Well, the caregivers are currently monitoring around Ngamba Island and the forest edges to see if they can view him in hiding but with no luck.
It is a natural behavior that individual chimps can isolate themselves from the community for a certain period of time until they return to their communities for reunion.
Chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos in Africa and orangutans in Southeast Asia are under extreme pressure from deforestation, hunting, habitat loss, civil conflict, disease and human encroachment. They are among the world’s most "endangered" primates.
From the purchase of household soaps made from unsustainable palm oil production to buying a table made from illegally sourced timber, the threats to human’s closest living relatives are manifested through choices we make daily and domestically.
Ms. Lilly Ajarova, Executive Director, CSWCT attended the Great Ape Survival Program (GRASP) Summit during the Jackson Hole Wildlife Festival to deliberate on ways of curbing these fast growing trends. Lilly discussed the issues on Illegal Pet trade in Great Apes and how to manage these. For more information about the Great Ape summit visit:jhfestival.org
Change My Community (CMC) Program passes out second group of trainees
Children show off their certificates
24th September 2013 was a colourful day for 140 pupils from 7 schools around Kyamaleera Wildlife Education Centre (KWEC), Hoima District, western Uganda. These were handed certificates of completion of the Change My Community (CMC) curriculum.
As Chimpanzees swung in trees of the neighbouring forest, pant hooting occasionally, children recited poems, sang songs and danced to Runyoro Music and everyone celebrated a successful one year investment.
Since September 2012, the 140 pupils have gone through training in various themes including, understanding forest ecosystem, chimpanzee behaviour, tree planting, culture and conservation, vegetable growing, making energy saving stoves and making organic manures.
The purpose of CMC program is to create change within communities with chimpanzees while using children as change agents. In the presence of their parents, the children demonstrated their skills and knowledge in environment conservation as they challenged other people to emulate their actions. Despite a heavy downpour, a large audience of about 500 people attended the function
Darwin Project Inception workshop held
Stakeholders having discussions during the workshop
In October 2012, the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through its Darwin Initiative awarded CSWCT and its partners; International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) and Nature Harness Initiatives a grant to implement a project;Harnessing Livelihood Benefits from a Payment for Environmental Services Scheme.
This project is to run from 2013-2015 with an aim of supporting more than 50% of the PES contracted forest owners to engage in additional forest based enterprises that will improve their short and long-term household income in order to make biodiversity conservation a more attractive land-use option.
‘For us to achieve this, we needed to have an inception workshop with technical personnel and political leaders to discuss the project plan and its implementation as they advise on how they can effectively engage in implementing the project,’ said CWCT’s Project Manager, Paul Hatanga. ‘We formed working committees for the different enterprises; that is, bee keeping, woodlot establishment and Eco-tourism.’ These committees will meet regularly to discuss implementation and offer technical guidance.