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2077

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Investigating Threats to Chimps in Uganda

Explore interactions between people and chimpanzees and other primates in the rainforest of Uganda to improve human–primate relationships.


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

With fewer fruiting trees in the forest, primates are raiding subsistence farms, which puts them in danger.

Help Earthwatch scientists gather data to better understand why chimps are suffering from food shortages in the Budongo Forest of Uganda.

The Budongo Forest is home to many fruiting trees and several species of primate that depend upon tree fruit as a major component of their diets. Local community members live along the forest edge and maintain subsistence farms on less than two acres (0.8 hectare) of land. One of the major threats to farmers’ livelihoods is crop raiding by forest primates. Since 1993, researchers in the Budongo Forest Reserve have observed a 15% decline in the number of fruiting trees in the forest; the reasons for this decline are unknown. The result of fewer fruiting trees is an increase in raids by forest primates on subsistence farms—and increased human–wildlife conflict.

Fieldwork in Budongo Forest, Uganda

Collect tree phenology data from plots in the forest.

This research team is investigating whether changes in climate and/or insect pollinators are responsible for changes in the number of fruit trees or seasonal fruit production. In addition, the team is investigating the implications of changes in tree fruiting in the area for human–wildlife conflict and food security. The project has established plots in which selected trees are monitored monthly to record fruiting patterns. At the same time, the project is collecting data on weather, visits by pollinating insects, and foraging on fruits by primates. Data are also collected to correlate the patterns of crop raiding with the pollination and fruiting patterns of forest trees. The primary outcome of this research will be the development of a plan to reduce conflict between local community farmers and raiding wildlife.

About the research area

Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda, Africa

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

This is a summary:

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Fred
Babweteera
Regional Coordinator, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Research and Conservation

ABOUT Fred Babweteera

Earthwatch scientist Dr. Fred Babweteera studies human–primate interactions and works on public policy issues in his native Uganda.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

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