Saving chimpanzees: Gov’t urged to be strict on conserving forests

KIKUUBE- Government has been told not to keep a blind eye to perpetrators who destroy forests in the country since among other roles, forests act as habitats for chimpanzees considered to be man’s closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Speaking during the launch of Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda [CCFU] Ekiteera [chimpanzee] Cup football tournament in Kikuube District, Aliguma Ahabyona Asiimwe Akiiki programme coordinator CCFU said the destruction of forests under government watch has left wild animals like chimpanzees homeless.

The CCFU Chimpanzee CUP football competition is organised to sensitise communities on the importance of conserving the forests.

Ahabyona said it is not easy to mobilise the community to conserve the environment when they see people destroying forests and others like wetlands under government watch.

Ahabyona said that there is a need for the government to double efforts in forest conservation, especially by working with the communities.

He noted that when government cares less about the environment, the local communities lose interest and may end up joining those destroying the forests.

He expressed dismay at the continued depletion of central forest reserves such as Bugoma forest, Bundongo forest in Masindi district, and Kangombe forest in Kagadi district, adding that the destruction of the forests has resulted in human and wildlife conflict, leading to animals destroying people’s farms in search of food, since their natural habitats have been destroyed by the humans.

He urged government officials at all levels to join efforts of conserving the forests as habitats for chimpanzees and other wild animals.

“We need to protect these forest reserves and we have hope that the chimpanzee cup football tournament will motivate the local people to conserve forests on private land and forests surrounding them,” he said.

About Ekiteera [chimpanzee] Cup

Ekiteera Cup competition is always held in areas such as Kikuube, Kagadi, and Kasese districts where forests such as Bugoma forest reserve are known to be homes for chimpanzees.

Different clans compete during the competition and they are always encouraged to plant indigenous trees and conserve the existing forests. The clans involved are; Ababompi, Abakurungo, Abaitira, and Abagimu.

This year’s Fourth Edition of Ekiteera Cup tournament was launched last Friday at Kikonda Primary School in Kabwoya Sub-county Kikuube district.

Ahabyona said that the soccer tournament is meant to mobilise the community, especially the youth to engage in conservation of the environment.

He said sports was chosen as the best method that would attract the community, especially the youth whose activities are affecting wildlife habitats.

He said about 3000 trees have been planted and the Killing of chimpanzees reduced since the communities have been told that the primates are the closet relatives of humans.

“We had a lot of human and wildlife conflicts in Muhoro Kagadi district, but this conflict has reduced because we sensitised the community about the behaviors of the chimpanzees. For instance, when you harm it today it can revenge even after 10 years. Another thing is that a chimpanzee is a totem for Abasiita and Abayanja clans. So we teach the community not to kill chimpanzees because they are associated with some clans in Bunyoro,” he said

Desiderious Matovu, the Bunyoro Kitara kingdom chief in charge of Kabwoya, was excited about the initiative, saying it helps in the promotion of culture and conservation of the environment.

He was hopeful that the initiative would promote the protection of chimpanzees and their habitats, the forests.


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