In June of this year, villagers entered Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda hunting for food. They encountered one of Bwindi’s best known silverbacks, Rafiki, panicked and speared him. Rafiki died, leaving the Nkuringo group vulnerable and their future uncertain.
Bwindi is home to 43% of all the world’s remaining 1000 mountain gorillas. The loss of Rafiki is enormous from a biodiversity perspective, but also a tourism and economic perspective. Tens of thousands of visitors trek into the park every year to catch a glimpse of habituated gorillas like Rafiki and his family. As a result of COVID-19, borders have been closed, hotels shuttered and treks canceled. No visitors have been to the area around the national park, normally bustling with tourists, since March. The impact on the economy of the rural areas around Bwindi has been devastating.
In response to the killing of Rafiki, Children of Conservation is partnering with Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a leading primatologist and expert in Uganda’s delicate gorilla population to raise money to prevent any more deaths. Together we plan to raise funds to support communities around the park, so that villagers don’t have to hunt and endanger the gorillas. We will also fund surveillance in the park to prevent poaching, gorilla health monitoring and COVID-19 prevention.
You can help by donating today!