Contribution starting at $3,050
Exported from Streamline App (https://app.streamlineicons.com)
12 days (avg. $254 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Wildlife & Ecosystems

Investigating Threats to Chimps in Uganda

Location
Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda Map it
Lead Scientist
Activity Level
Very Active
Accommodations
Single Rooms possible
Couples Rooms possible
Research Station
Food
Chef-prepared meals
Chimp in Uganda
Track primates as they look for food. You'll record where they go and what fruits they eat.
Chimp in Uganda
Help scientists understand why many tree species are no longer bearing fruit by recording which trees have fruit and monitoring the rainfall and temperature throughout the forest.
You'll assess how the decline in fruit is affecting bird populations.
Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda
Chimp in Uganda
Track primates as they look for food. You'll record where they go and what fruits they eat.
Chimp in Uganda
Help scientists understand why many tree species are no longer bearing fruit by recording which trees have fruit and monitoring the rainfall and temperature throughout the forest.
You'll assess how the decline in fruit is affecting bird populations.
Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

As food supplies in the forest decline, chimps in the Budongo Forest are raiding farmers’ crops. What is causing the decline in food? How can the area support both farmers and primate foragers?


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In the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda, fruit production by forest trees is mysteriously declining. As a result, chimps and other primates are raiding local subsistence farms. Dr. Fred Babweteera of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, along with graduate students from Makerere University, Kampala, is studying the foraging habits of primates and the fruiting cycles of fruit trees with the goal of developing new approaches to sharing resources between people and primates—and they need your help.

On this expedition you’ll have a unique opportunity to meet our closest relatives in their natural habitat. About 700 chimpanzees live in the Budongo Forest Reserve, the largest remaining tropical rainforest in East Africa. In addition, there are four other major primate species in the Budongo Forest. You’ll team up with field assistants at the Budongo Conservation Field Station to observe chimps and other primates as they forage for food in the morning and late afternoon. You’ll learn to identify local trees and work alongside researchers to monitor trees, as well ass assess the phenology (timing) of their flowering and fruiting. You’ll also help assess how changes in food availability affects local bird populations by setting up mist nets and assisting in banding forest birds. Back at the research camp, you’ll help write up the data, relax, enjoy sports with members of the Reserve staff, or walk the “Royal Mile” to take in the natural beauty of the rainforest.

 

A Typical Itinerary

  • Day 1   Rendezvous in Entebbe, drive to Budongo Conservation Field Station
  • Day 2   Safety briefing and training, transect work
  • Days 3-6   Follow primates, survey plants, assist with bird surveys and banding, interview locals
  • Days 7-8   Recreational days
  • Days 9-10   Track primates, plant surveys, assist with bird surveys and banding, interview locals
  • Day 11   Finish fieldwork, debrief
  • Day 12   Return to Entebbe, departure

Team departs (volunteers on second week arrive, itinerary repeats)

HOW YOU WILL HELP

While hiking through the forest (depending on the day), you will:
Follow foraging primates
Follow foraging primates
Track primates (chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and/or colobus monkeys) as they look for food. You'll record where they go and what fruits they eat.
Hike to record vegetation
Hike to record vegetation
Help scientists understand why many tree species are no longer bearing fruit by recording which trees have fruit and monitoring the rainfall and temperature throughout the forest. You'll also assess how the decline in fruit is affecting bird populations by setting up mist nets and assisting in banding forest birds.
Interview community members
Interview community members
Speak with people who live near the reserve to find out when and how often primates raid their crops, so that researchers can correlate raids with the timing of fruit growth in the forest.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS

5 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Susan Pollack | November 9, 2019
This expedition was so much more than I could have imagined. It was my first Earthwatch expedition and my second trip to Uganda, a truly beautiful country. The rooms were adequate and very comfortable. Accommodations were provided in the latrines for those individuals uncomfortable with squatting. The whole field station was comfortable and enjoyable. Everyone ate dinner together, sometimes with other researchers staying there. The food was delicious. Each morning we would hike into the forest with a different field assistant to help them gather data about different aspects of the forest. The field assistants were so knowledgeable and friendly. I was often amazed about how much knowledge is being gleaned from the Budongo forest, information that will have value for all tropical forests. While each day’s activity was eye-opening to me, my favorites, besides the time with the chimpanzees, was the birding. Learning about the different birds in the forest, watching Patrick’s and Godfrey’s skilled hands freeing the birds from the mist nets, measuring, weighing, and banding the birds before releasing them was so interesting. Maybe also, it was the time in between each hike to collect the birds from the nets. Just sitting quietly in this beautiful forest was so calming to me.
Jennifer Coats | September 30, 2019
This was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I think it's really difficult to describe what to expect during this expedition in a written briefing. The community at the field station was more than the staff and it takes a few days to have even a sense of how everything fits together between the field station management, our expedition leader, the students doing research, the field assistants (who should be called "field experts" in my opinion), and the professionals and researchers who come in to participate. But it was just that sense of community and chance to interact with experts from the local community and students from around the world that made the experience so special.
John Kokko | September 29, 2019
Bodongo Forest reserve provides a perfect opportunity to understand the complex nature of wildlife and ecosystem threats, challenges, needs for solutions, and difficulties in implementation. The expedition took us through the wide range of issues facing chimps while showing that these dangers affect humans as much as any other part of the ecosystem. Simple single-minded solutions can and often do have unintended consequences that can hurt rather than help the situation. And that ideas have to be tried and refined over time to achieve success. Truly an eye-opening and humbling experience.

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