Rafiki, one of Bwindi's silverback mountain gorillas, was killed on June 1st by bush meat poachers, illustrating the serious impacts of the pandemic on people and wildlife. The cessation of tourism has left people jobless and impoverished. Poverty drives poaching. People enter the forest for food and fuelwood, putting gorillas and other wildlife at risk from hunting or zoonotic diseases. We will provide nutritional support to help people survive the crisis without endangering Bwindi's wildlife.
COVID-19 has brought tourism to a standstill, with drastic consequences for community members who were dependent on tourism for employment and found themselves plunged into poverty. This has implications for Bwindi's wildlife and biodiversity, both of which are under threat from people desperate to meet the needs of their families. The endangered mountain gorillas (43% of those remaining in the wild are in Bwindi) are particularly at risk - both from poachers and transmission of COVID-19.
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) will meet the nutritional needs of community members by providing packages of nutrient-rich, fast-growing, low-maintenance food crops which can be grown with minimal inputs and space. These 'ready to grow gardens' can start to be harvested within 1-3 months, providing food for the family. Coupled with increased park surveillance and community sensitization, the project will reduce illegal activity in the forest, protecting its wildlife and biodiversity.
Your support will help to ensure the survival of 43% of the World's remaining mountain gorillas and other wildlife, as well as supporting the wellbeing of community members living on the outskirts of the park. Ready to grow gardens will provide long term nutritional support to families. Without urgent remedial action, COVID-19 will continue to have drastic consequences for BINP, it's endangered mountain gorillas and surrounding communities and we risk losing some of our closest primate cousins.