A substantial part of the East-African subspecies of the chimpanzees (pan troglodytes schweinfurthü) lives in Uganda. The last big forest districts of this East- African land can be found in the west and southwest of Uganda. The Jane Goodall Institute has, apart from the management of the Budongo Forest Reserve, programmes running in other areas of Uganda as well. In these areas JGI organizes ecotourism projects, environmental education, chimpanzee- research and a snare intervention program. The longest running and most successful snare removal program was established by JGI in the Kibale National Park. Kibale also houses the biggest population of chimpanzees in Uganda.
In Uganda there’s traditionally no hunting of chimps. The regions where chimpanzees live were always used as source of firewood and bush meat for the surrounding towns. Today there are sufficient alternative sources for firewood and bush meat and most forests like Budongo are protected.
The Jane Goodall Institute works with the principle of community centered conservation (CCC). According to JGI, protection of nature can only lead to sustainable results if the projects are conducted by the local people. In order to manage this JGI is working hard to establish a good cooperation with the local people. The employees working in the parks come from the surrounding towns and the schools have taken environmental education up in their curriculum. On top of this they’re looking for alternatives in order to prevent damage caused by wildlife and ways to boost the food production. Furthermore surrounding towns get exclusive rights to enter the forests for non-destructive activities. This measure helps the community feel responsible for the area and undesired intruders have less opportunities.
Despite the measures of JGI there’s still unwanted hunting in protected areas. Certain groups of people place snares in the forests although there are serious fines for placing such traps. Snares, simple iron wired slings, are being placed on wildlife trails and their purpose is to catch animals like dykers and bushpigs. The animals run into these snares, suspecting nothing, and get caught in the iron wire which is tightened. Often traps are placed where not many animals are passing and are often forgotten. Those left behind in the forests are very dangerous for the chimpanzees living there. These traps are seldom deadly for chimps, but they can nevertheless hurt them badly. If a chimp gets caught with its arm or leg, its instincts tell it to run. This causes the snare to contract around the body part entwined in the metal trap, causing the limb to wither and die due to the constriction. Currently 25 to 30 percent of wounded chimps in Uganda are the result of being caught in snares. Commonly they have lost hands or feet, but too often they even miss arms or legs.
These injuries might not always be deadly but they have a serious influence on the social status and mobility of the animal. Animals less able to collect food will weaken quicker and are thus more susceptible to illnesses. Female chimps with babies also have trouble caring for their youngsters properly due to the handicap. Eventually this leads to a weakening of the chimp population.
Apart from snare prevention and reporting, the Jane Goodall Institute also takes care of clearing the forest of snares, of snare intervention and caring for injured chimps.
JGI has a team consisting of trained Ugandan trackers for the Snare removal programme. The task of this snare removal team is to locate and remove the snares, and to mark on maps via GPS systems areas where poachers are active.
Together with the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, JGI ensures the presence of a team of trained snare trackers, who remove snares daily and map the behaviour of the poachers. This project ensures that not only are the snares removed from the forests, but there are also fewer injuries. By monitoring the routes taken by poachers, the National Forestry Authorities, who are responsible for the law enforcement, can take action against the poachers in more effective ways.
The Jane Goodall Institute requires financial resources for salary, clothes, GPS systems and the transport of the four snare removers of the Kibale Removal Team.
By becoming a gold or platinum member part of your membership fee will go to this project, but you can also can donate directly to this project by making a transfer with reference “snare removal Uganda”. You will receive a certificate for your donation. All banking details are provided on our contact page.