What do school fees and tree seedlings have to do with saving chimps?

In 2015, Friends of Chimps first partnered with the Bulindi Chimpanzee and Community Development Project (BCCP) to help protect a population of 260 wild chimpanzees using patches of privately owned and rapidly shrinking forest in western Uganda. Without much forest left, the chimps sometimes forage on farmer’s crops, causing farmers to place dangerous snares and steel traps and creating serious concerns for both people and chimps.

Thankfully, a team of researchers and local Ugandans at BCCP have come up with an approach that is simple, practical and that offers new hope. By helping local families in the areas most affected, it is possible to create a more sustainable human-chimp coexistence.

To that end, Friends helped fund a one-year pilot project that BCCP implemented, that called for, 1) paying school fees for children of families who agreed the protect the forest on their land and 2) working with villagers on an extensive tree-planting project.

Initially, only some families agreed but, after just a few months, all but one local family asked to join. Thirty-three children were able to attend school thanks to their costly fees being paid and ALL of the households stopped cutting down forest. In addition, hundreds of thousands of seedlings were distributed across 10 villages, including native species for forest enrichment, fast-growing exotics for woodlots (to reduce future pressure on natural forest) and coffee as a cash crop to booth local incomes.

After just one year, the situation at Bulindi appears to be improving!

In other exciting news, this spring, three babies were born in the struggling Bulindi chimpanzee population! Watch the short video below to see the first glimpse of these adorable little guys.

As a result of the success, BCCP, hopes to expand their work to also include a nearby community. Donations to Friends of Chimps helps fund these kinds of items:

  • $25 = wheelbarrow for the tree nursery.
  • $50 = 5 kg of fruit tree seedlings for forest enrichment planting.
  • $75 = the monthly salary of a tree nursery attendant to water the seedlings every day.
  • $100 = the annual school fees, uniform and stationery for 2 primary school children.
  • $150 = 10 kg of coffee seedlings for local farmers.
  • $200 = the monthly salary of a local assistant to monitor the chimpanzees and forest every day.
  • $250 = the annual school fees, uniform and stationery for 1 secondary school child.

Also, join our mailing list to receive updates on this project and see how your generous donations are impacting this important on-the-ground work. As always, thank you for your support and feel free to contact us with questions.

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *