By Storm Stanley
Most of the 49 chimpanzees being rehabilitated on Ngamba Island in Uganda by the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) had never met before, other than three babies born in July 2002, March 2015 and February 2016.
On the whole, they have formed a cooperative community, intermingling contentedly in cohesive groups -- complex family and social interactions are essential to all chimpanzees. There is a hierarchy -- chimps are known for dominant/submissive social stratification, with high to low ranking members.
Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria was established as a chimpanzee sanctuary in October 1998, starting with 11 Eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii).
In order to provide a secure home for orphaned and rescued chimps, 100 acres of near pristine forest was purchased with donor seed funding by a partnership of national and international conservation organisations, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free Foundation, Jane Goodall Institute, Taronga Zoo, Australia, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), Uganda Wildlife Authority and Ecotrust Uganda.
In the administration block, I read several chimpanzee profiles. Most of the chimps were victims of the illegal live trade in wildlife, and were confiscated from dealers. Three chimps -- Masiko, Sunday and Megan were returned from Russia destined for a circus in Moscow. Another four came from war-torn South Sudan -- Sara, Medina, Cocoa and Minni.Add a comment
By Rupert Watson
Soon after Ngulia Lodge opened on the edge of an escarpment in Tsavo West National Park, in 1969, ornithologists discovered that a combination of moonless nights, midnight mist and bright lodge lights, attracted migrating birds down to ground level.
It was December, and these were southward-bound migrants from Eurasia, and for the bird people, there was only one obvious next step -- catch as many as possible, and put rings on their legs to try and learn more about where they had come from, where they were going, and how they got there.
Ringing quickly started in earnest and 48 years later, with on-going help from Kenya Wildlife Service and the Ngulia Lodge, still continues. Today, the dramatic edge of the escarpment still remains the premier site for ringing Eurasian (or more accurately "Palaearctic") migrants on their way through Africa.
Never having had the privilege of witnessing this programme in action, I introduced myself to the organisers at the Ornithology Department of the Nairobi Museum, and made the necessary bookings. Then at the end of last year I set off to see what happened, in the hope that at least on balance I could be more of a help than a hindrance.Add a comment
By Charlotte Beauvoisin and Amy Roll
In 21st century conservation circles, it is widely assumed that for conservation to be successful, human communities need to benefit. The benefits usually come in the form of jobs, community project such as schools or some training opportunities.
Improvements in human health are rarely discussed leave alone the potentially lethal impact of untreated human health issues on animal health and conservation.
One pioneering East African conservation organization that is successfully tackling these issues is Conservation Through Public Health.
In 1996, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) founder and CEO, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, was working as the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s first veterinarian in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southwest of the country. Bwindi is one of the few places where the 880 critically endangered mountain gorillas can still be found.
She experienced firsthand how fragile the balance between wildlife and human health is when she led a team managing a scabies skin disease outbreak among the mountain gorillas. Ruhara, an infant gorilla had died from a scabies outbreak that was eventually traced back to the communities living around the park. It was discovered that the gorillas had gone in to people’s gardens in search of bananas and got infected with scabies after coming into contact the clothes of people who had the disease.Add a comment
By Darcy Ogada
We set out for northern Kenya in May when the area was awash in floodwaters, clearly the worst of times to be traveling into a place whose roads are notoriously treacherous at the best of times.
Two vehicles, two drivers, three raptor recorders, one homeguard for 14 days of surveys.
Our aim was to count raptors, all of those that we could see from our vehicle windows. Counting raptors from a moving vehicle is really the only method to quickly assess their numbers over such a vast area.
An area whose list of pending large-scale developments reads like an 8-year old’s list to Santa Claus -- long and growing. Damming of the Omo River, the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPPSET) project, oil extraction, the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, multiple high voltage power lines, and a dam called Crocodile Jaws.Add a comment