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An update from the Budongo Forest

19/04/2024 in Conservation

The Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) in Uganda is one of our wildlife conservation charity’s longest partnerships. The Budongo Forest is the largest intact forest in East Africa, with some of the oldest forest research plots in the world and the BCFS team are renowned for their chimpanzee conservation and research. 

We recently received an update from our partners in Uganda. Find out more about what’s been happening in the forest.  


In February, BCFS supported 40 students from Gulu University, Uganda. They spent a day doing practical field training sessions in plant taxonomy and mist netting, followed by hearing a chimpanzee talk at the field station. 

The team also welcomed 45 biology and geography students and staff from McGill University, Canada. The geography students engaged with communities neighbouring the Budongo Forest and conducted interviews that would inform their mini research projects on aspects of traditional beliefs, access to education, health facilities, sports and entertainment activities. The biology students on the other hand benefitted from the vast knowledge of the BCFS team, discussing forest ecology and conducted sessions on aquatic sampling and plant taxonomy and inventory (to investigate edge effect on plant diversity).  

Long-term data collection 

BCFS aims to develop a long-term database of chimpanzee behaviour, ornithology, herpetology, plant phenology and weather patterns in Budongo Forest.  

During the start of the year, it was noted that the Sonso and Waibira chimpanzee communities were ranging far south in their search for food. 

Excitingly, over 10 amphibian species were encountered and recorded in forest compartments and community crop fields.  

Snare removal and illegal activity patrols 

Snares are a particularly common technique used by poachers and the dedicated BCFS team spend hours each day patrolling the forest to locate and remove these traps. Although not usually indented for chimps, this indiscriminate method poses a risk to multiple species. 

Sadly, there was an increase in the number of illegal activities found in the forest in February. The BCFS team recovered 74 wire snares, 34 nylon snares and discovered 10 active charcoal burning sites. 

Chimp health monitoring 

Non-invasive chimpanzee health monitoring across sites in both the northern and southern forest sectors was successfully conduced and no major health concerns were reported. 

Support to community livelihoods 

The BCFS team extended invitations to community members in four sub-counties (Nyantonzie, Budongo, Kabango and Nyabyeya) through their leaders to join handcrafting training sessions. It is hoped this offering will help provide additional skills and alternative life skills to forest edge communities, reducing their dependence on the forest for resources. 

Conservation Champions 

£12 a month could give BCFS rangers the tools they need to free chimpanzees from cruel snare traps. Give from £1 a week to £1 a day and join a growing group of caring people like you, committed to saving animals in danger. 

We would like to thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their generous support which has helped this project.

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