taking action for

Chimpanzees

In addition to donating $400,000 to chimpanzee conservation efforts in Uganda, we have provided employment for six Eco-Rangers, educators and a wildlife vet for over 22 years.

From Lake Albert to the Mountains of the Moon, beautiful Uganda’s unique landscape is home to an incredible array of animals, including 5000 endangered chimpanzees. Six forested blocks, including the Budongo Forest Reserve and Kibale National Park, hold 75% of that chimp population. Oakland Zoo is committed to conserving chimpanzees in these two critical areas through in-depth partnerships and actions. Our dedication to our closest living relative has been one of the foundations of our Taking Action for Wildlife conservation history.

Conservation Challenges

Loss of Habitat 

With a human population that has increased sevenfold since 1920 and continues to grow, the future of the Kibale Forest is far from secure. Wood and charcoal are the sole sources of energy for most people living near Kibale National Park, greatly exceeding the average reliance on fuel wood in other parts of Africa. With forests outside protected areas in decline, many locals see no alternative but to illegally harvest wood from their local habitat. Alternatives options to cook food for a family are crucial.

Near the Budongo Forest Reserve, population pressure from immigration due to wars and civil unrest in neighboring countries means cropland is scarce. Illegal logging, increased agriculture, and the intention to explore the use of oil reserves is likely to exacerbate land pressures and environmental degradation.

Illegal Poaching

Uganda faces a crisis that many African countries share: poaching for bushmeat. Hunting exotic animals illegally is done for sustenance and to fuel a growing demand for exotic animals in restaurants. Snares used to trap these animals also cause severe injuries and death to chimpanzees who are accidentally caught in the tightening wire loops.

Human-Wildlife Conflict

As agriculture like sugar cane pushes into chimpanzee habitat, chimps are killed when they raid the crops. As chimps traverse through villages, drawn towards these fields that were once their forest home, more human-wildlife conflict occurs.

Eco-rangers, sponsored by Oakland Zoo, in Uganda's Budongo forest

Eco-Guards and Oakland Zoo staff patroling Budongo forest, looking for snares set by poachers

Oakland Zoo is Taking Action for Chimpanzees

Project Support

The Zoo is the sole supporter of the Budongo Snare Removal Project. Funds support six Eco-Rangers who remove snares from the forest and monitor chimpanzee populations, educators who connect with the community to reduce human-wildlife conflict, a goat program for ex-poachers to have alternative sustenance and financial opportunities, and veterinary care for chimps injured by snares and for the goats that are part of the ex-poacher program.

The Zoo is also a long-time supporter of the New Nature Foundation and their work in Uganda. Funds support impactful and fully-staffed science centers in each of their target villages, community engagement through nature celebrations and lively competitions, and chimpanzee habitat protection through tree planting and the production of eco-stoves and eco-briquettes.

Community Engagement

Oakland Zoo shares conservation issues facing chimpanzees and empowering solutions to conserve them to the public through a variety of channels: Docents and Volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, Education programs, events, exhibits, campaigns, Keeper Talks, and media stories.

Oakland Zoo celebrates chimpanzees and conservation efforts to ensure their survival with chimpanzee specific events at the zoo.

Oakland Zoo uses the power of visitors to combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade through an #Endthetrade pledge and campaign.

Oakland Zoo collects used cell phones from visitors in exchange for a train ride. Our Eco-Cell program helps save great ape habitats by lowering the need for coltan mining.

Leadership Training and Staff Expertise  

Oakland Zoo provides yearly professional training for field partners and offers a myriad of staff skills and resources to enhance conservation efforts.

Sales that Save

Oakland Zoo is proud to offer our Beads for Chimps program that supports women artisans who share habitat with chimpanzees. Kibale Bead bracelets and necklaces are sold onsite at our Beads for Chimps Station and the Oakland Zoo gift shop. All proceeds support the Budongo Snare Removal Project.

Eco-Travel with Impact

Oakland Zoo’s Eco-Travel program brings participants on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to take real action for wildlife in Uganda in partnership with the Budongo Snare Removal Project and the New Nature Foundation. 

Beads for Chimps

Beads for Chimps is a conservation organization built around collaboration between Oakland Zoo and the Ugandan Community Action Project, an all-female group producing and selling sustainable, ethical and handmade paper bead jewelry to raise funds for chimpanzee conservation and to promote respect for the environment at large.

Budongo Snare Removal Project

The Budongo Snare Removal Project in Uganda protects chimpanzees and other wildlife impacted by snares used for the poaching of bushmeat by locating and removing these traps, while providing an alternative source of income to locals sworn to discontinue poaching.

New Nature Foundation

New Nature Foundation's has been working to protect Kibale National Park in Uganda from encroachment and deforestation, and to improve the relationship between the National Park and the local people by facilitating energy stability in surrounding villages.

Taking Action for Chimps: You Can Too!

  • PLEDGE to combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade. Make thoughtful purchasing choices  
  • VISIT Oakland Zoo’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Center in the African Village
  • WATCH Cocktails & Conservation to learn more about the work Budongo Snare Removal Project and New Nature Foundation 
  • PURCHASE Kibale Beads at our Beads for Chimps station or Gift Shop
  • ECO-TRAVEL with Oakland Zoo on the next eco-trip to Uganda & Rwanda to support this vital conservation work.
  • IMBIBE a refreshing signature drink at Oakland Zoo in partnership with Ale Industries in support of combating the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
  • DONATE to Oakland Zoo’s funding efforts that support chimpanzees in Uganda.