Habitat Restoration and Ecotourism for Chimpanzees, Uganda
Western Uganda’s Hoima district is dominated by village and agricultural land but small forests occur along watercourses and valleys throughout the 1000 km2 region. These unprotected forests are owned by local village households and provide critical habitat for a population of 300 wild chimpanzees, as well as other primates including black and white colobus, vervets, baboons, and the endangered Ugandan mangabey. Hoima’s small forests have additional conservation value as a wildlife corridor linking two large protected areas to the north and south. The area is threatened by unregulated tourism, pressure for development, and agricultural expansion. The removal of forest leads to crop-raiding by chimpanzees, which are then trapped or killed. For many households the forest is their only source of income. This project will work with local communities to develop local livelihood alternatives from sustainable ecotourism alongside woodlots and ‘chimp friendly’ coffee farming to reduce pressure on natural forest. Tree nurseries will be established and 200,000 coffee trees, 200,000 native species for enrichment planting, and 200,000 fast-growing exotics for woodlots, will be grown. A thorough biodiversity survey will be conducted, guidelines for best practice ecotourism and visitor enhancement will be drawn up, 150 energy-saving stoves will be constructed, and there will be local educational outreach for schoolchildren and adults.