Save Primates- Uganda as an organization was born from a series of campaign activities initially aimed at rallying for community support to protect endangered Mountain gorillas within and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located in South Western Uganda. The campaign was initiated by re-known conservationist and tour operator- Herbert, after killing of Silverback, male mountain gorilla named “Rafiki” by a poacher in Bwindi forest. “RAFIKI” was a great friend to many visitors as the name translates in Kiswahili language. Investigations concluded that poacher stabbed and killed “Rafiki” in self-defense as he (poacher) had gone to hunt in pursuit duiker & bush pig for bush meat BUT bumped into mountain gorilla group commanded by “Rafiki” that later charged at them (poachers).
Following the Rafiki incident, Herbert & his friends (conservationists) interacted with local communities around Bwindi Impenetrable Kibale National Park, Mgahinga gorilla Kibale National Park, Kibale National Park, Budongo central forest about general conservation status of mountain gorillas and other primates. It was found that primates remain at great risk from other species’ (duikers, bush pigs etc.) related poaching activities. The situation is worsened by COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted into loss tourism related benefits to local community members as it has been their sole source of livelihoods. Secondly findings also indicated that some local community groups’ members eat primates (bush meat), hunt primates to get meat for their dogs. Other reasons for hunting primates down in forests was also perceived to be a major means of reducing crop raiding & diseases from primates and lastly for primate- pet trade across borders with other countries.
Uganda is home to over 20 species of non-human primates. Key primate species like Mountain gorillas, Golden monkey, Chimpanzees fall under Endangered category of IUCN Red list of conservation. The above mentioned threats coupled with rapid destruction of primates’ habitat destruction across the country motivated Herbert and his friends (Edmand & Paddy) co-founded Save Primates- Uganda to save primates from the brink of extinction in the wild in Uganda.
Who we work with
In championing primates’ conservation, we work with several stakeholders as either voluntary members or partners. The first category of stakeholders is individual local communities’ individual members- in this category we have a voluntary membership of over 500 members from local communities. These work with us as friends of primates in their individual capacity. We have created awareness on primate conservation & its benefits amongst these individuals, research has shown that attitude & perception towards wildlife conservation has changed for better due to positive word of mouth from friends or relatives. We believe this will sow seeds of primates’ conservation in the neighborhoods.
The second category is the local community associations- here we work with organized and registered community groups around primate habitats. These groups include, re-formed poachers, tour guides groups, Porter’s association, Farmer groups etc. For example, we educate farmers about on-farm tree planting, primate crop raiding management techniques, planting of non-palatable crops etc. So a far, we have established working relationships with over 10 community associations with average membership of 30 people around Bwindi Impenetrable and Kibale Forest National Parks. (Put list of member Association)
The third category is our partners who include: Government agencies such as Uganda Wildlife Authority, National Forestry Authority; District local governments; Corporate bodies such as Makerere University Biological Field Station, Bird Uganda Safaris, African Institute of Tourism & Nature Guiding and; lastly conservation NGOs