Saving Bulindi Chimps

We’ve just launched our newest campaign on Crowdrise! Along with and the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP), we’re raising $10,000 to expand a highly successful pilot project! The expansion actually costs $15,000 but the great news – we’ve already raised the first $5,000!

Detailed below are the results of the first year pilot at Bulindi where 33 children went to school, 200,000 tree seedlings were planted, no mature trees were cut down and 4 new baby chimps were born! This campaign is to expand this project to a second site, Wagaisa, where we can double our impact on both chimpanzees and local families.

Together we can change the future for these highly vulnerable populations of wild chimpanzees in Uganda. Donate Now.

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Notes from the Field – Uganda, October 2016
Dr. Matt McLennan, Oxford Brookes University & BCCP Director

It’s been a hugely exciting and productive 18 months since we launched the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP) back in April last year! For readers unfamiliar with the project’s background, it was conceived to try to halt and reverse the downward spiral of forest clearance and human–wildlife conflict, threatening the immediate survival of chimpanzees at Bulindi and surrounding areas.

Over 10 years I’ve followed this small family of chimpanzees, which currently numbers 22 members (a slight increase from previous years thanks to a recent, much-needed ‘baby boom’). During those same 10 years, more than 80% of their forest home was cut down and replaced by farmland. Researching the lives of the chimps has shone a spotlight on the immense pressure which they and other chimp groups in this region face from their human neighbours. At the same time, becoming involved in village life and learning about the constraints local people face in their daily lives, convinced me that efforts to conserve the chimpanzees and remaining forest had to start with support for local households.

It’s with great pleasure that I can report our first 18 months have been a great success! Our approach is novel, but simple. Since local villagers are poor and clear forest to raise cash and for wood, we offered to sponsor schoolchildren to help households meet one of their primary expenses, alongside an extensive tree planting program. When we began in May 2015, 14 forest-owning households agreed to participate; over the course of the first year this number grew steadily to 22. These 22 forest-owning households collectively own about 90% of the forest in Bulindi!

Currently, we’re sponsoring 33 schoolchildren and college students. Additionally, we helped forest owners purchase livestock (pigs, cows) and bicycles, and helped another 5 households purchase construction materials to build their homes.

The project’s tree nursery forms the ‘epicenter’ for our activities in Bulindi. To date, we’ve raised more than 200,000 tree seedlings in the nursery. These have been distributed freely to households from villages throughout the Bulindi area and include native trees for forest enrichment (including fruit trees that chimps like to eat), fast-growing exotics for household woodlots, and coffee – a major cash crop – to boost local incomes.

Our aim in the next year is to double our impact by expanding BCCP to a second, nearby site to help a second community of wild chimpanzees and support local households there too. At Wagaisa (about 10 miles from Bulindi), a resident group of about 35 chimpanzees are similarly affected by rapid habitat loss and rising conflict with local villagers, and conservation action is urgently required. At the same time, BCCP will continue working in Bulindi, supporting local households, planting more trees and monitoring the progress of the remarkable Bulindi chimps!

Thank you for your continued support. Check out our Crowdrise fundraiser now.

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