In January 2000, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in collaboration with the Budongo Forest Project (BFP) initiated a snare removal program in the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda. The objective was to reduce the number of snares being set as well as the number of animals being caught in them. The Project also sought to increase public awareness regarding this issue, ensuring that more local people would obey wildlife laws and understand the need for protecting wildlife.
Chimpanzee populations are currently found in 22 forested blocks along the western border of Uganda. Of these areas, six hold more than 75 percent of the total population of chimpanzees in the country. These areas include the Budongo Forest Reserve, Bugoma Forest Reserve, Kibale National Park, Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Maramagambo Forest (inside Queen Elizabeth National Park) and Kalinzu Forest Reserve. These six forests collectively house an estimated 3,300 chimpanzees.
Unfortunately, Uganda faces a crisis that many African countries share: the Bushmeat issue. Bushmeat is the term used for illegally hunted exotic animals killed for food. The poaching of bushmeat is sometimes done for sustenance, but more often it simply fuels a growing taste for exotic animals in restaurants. Snares used to trap these animals are causing injury and death to all kinds of species, including chimpanzees.
Snares are wire loops designed to catch animals around the neck. As the animal struggles, the snare tightens. However, hunters don't always check snares that they set, so trapped animals may suffer for long periods until they die. Also, the snares don't just catch the target animal; anything that becomes stuck can be killed this way. In an attempt to escape, many animals maim limbs that have been caught in these traps.
It is estimated that 25% of chimpanzees in Uganda have injuries from being caught in snares, so this project, which directly benefits forest wildlife, is critically important. Using two-man teams to locate and remove snares, it was discovered after the first year of operation, that the number of snares being set within the research area dropped. The census teams found that heavy poaching was being carried out in the southern end of the forest reserve, so the team near the research site extended their range. The staff also monitors a small group of chimpanzees in the remnant forest patch called Kasokwa Central Forest Reserve.
For more information, go to: www.elephanttrust.org
What the Oakland Zoo Does:
Our support of the snare removal program covers the salaries for four field assistants, two educators, two eco-guards, and allowances for transportation and bike repair, gum boots, rain gear, backpacks, and compasses. We undertook the funding of the project in the 2001-2002 fiscal year and have made a commitment to continue our support. Funds raised at Discovering Primates, an annual fall lecture, auction and family day, go directly to the project. For more information, go to: www.budongo.org/
What You Can Do:
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Save The Elephants
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Budongo Snare Removal
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