SAVING ENDANGERED MOUNTAIN GORILLAS AGAINST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

SAVING ENDANGERED MOUNTAIN GORILLAS AGAINST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Campaign by  Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organisation, KAMPALA, Uganda
$405.1 (11 donors)
2%
Goal is $15,000
2 Complete (success)

About this campaign

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site. Located in south-western Uganda, the forest is very significant as a home to almost half of the world’s remaining population of endangered mountain gorillas. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a parastatal authority of the government, manages the park.

Mountain gorilla ecotourism contributes revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority and is one of the premier tourism activities in East Africa. The African parks in which great ape tourism exists and all mountain gorilla sites like BINP were closed fairly quickly, spurred by advice regarding primates’ susceptibility to the Coronavirus. A notice from the IUCN’s specialist groups on wildlife health and on primates said: “At this point, it is safest to assume that great apes are susceptible to SARS CoV-2 infection.” They advised keeping contact with great apes to an absolute minimum. That means tourism will be extremely risky until the pandemic is fully controlled.

Revenue from gorilla tourism is used to protect and enhance the conservation status of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest through funding tourism, law enforcement, community conservation, and wildlife monitoring and research activities. If lockdowns persist for months, the consequences could be devastating for fragile gorilla populations and the communities that surround them and depend on ecotourism which has since then been halted.

The Bwindi gorilla population could be wiped out by a highly infectious disease like COVID-19 and it could easily spread between families when gorillas fight or transfer to another group. Further there may be an increase in poaching, the live animal trade and encroachment, along with infrastructure breaking down and patrol cars not being maintained. There is a risk that we will lose great apes when law enforcement operations are suspended.

Use of Funds

EWCO Uganda is targeting to raise a total of $15,000 for this course. The contribution will help to implement direct response interventions efforts to directly prevent the spread of COVID-19, through support and provision of healthcare support to those affected like hygiene/WASH projects which prevent transmission of the virus in underserved communities bordering the park. Purchase and provision of masks, sanitizers, and other Personal Protection Equipment to rangers still on duty and community healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project will offer logistical support to enhance law enforcement by Rangers.
Your kind contribution will also support primary beneficiaries of this project including 70 women 30 youth and men from Batwa communities, one of the last groups of short structured people commonly known as pygmies, living in the mountain slopes of Bwindi National park.

This project would address the target communities to focus on alternative source of income, as they are heavily relying on eco-tourism.
It will offer relevant and practical solutions that meet real emergence needs through training and setting up alternative livelihood and farming projects to counter the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19 such as scaling up efforts to teach people how to grow and market their own food to increase food security. Community based groups will be formed such as women groups and youth groups and they will be empowered through capacity building, group savings, entrepreneurial training, etc. The group savings and credits schemes will enable individuals in the group, as the individual could access to micro loan as investment for their small local and petty business. Organizing mutual aid networks to increase product marketing and increase the income for their future sustainability of the project.
Meanwhile, the WASH program prioritizes clean water access and sanitation in long-term.

$90 will purchase vegetable seeds and equipment for three Batwa community groups and reformed poachers to ensure future food security in future if any pandemic situation occurs. Sustainable organic farming will allow people living around the gorilla habitat to generate an income and feed their families, diminishing the need to enter the forest for resources
$50 will buy one modern bee hive
$80 will train farmers to keep hives on their small-holdings as opposed to inside the forest where there is an ever-present threat to gorillas
$30 will support a family of 4 people with soap, Maize floor & Beans
$100 will buy a Bee suit’s and Bee Smokers for the reformed poachers group
$20 will contribute to the group savings and credits scheme to enable individuals in the group, access to micro loan as investment for their small local and petty business as an alternative to ecotourism which is now affected
$40 will buy a box of face masks for park rangers guarding the mountain gorillas
$50 will buy sanitizers and disinfectants for park rangers guarding the mountain gorillas
$60 will facilitate training farmers in bee-husbandry and queen bee rearing, product value addition, packaging and marketing to increase honey production.