Environmentalists urge people to emulate chimpanzees in forest conservation

Chimpanzees eat wild fig fruit in Uganda (Photo credit: Adventures to Gorilla Africa)
  • People should stop demonising chimpanzees
  • Chimpanzees are key players in reforestation
  • People should emulate chimpanzees in reforestation

Although some wild animals are demonised for their attacks on people and crop destruction, they, however, deserve appreciation for their vital role of being players in regenerating trees, the much advocated campaign for environmental conservation.

From consumption of fruits and the passing out of seeds and droppings onto the ground to adding manure that absorb into the soil favourable for tree growing, such wild animals as chimpanzees, baboons and monkeys and some wild birds need to be protected against any human harm by conserving their habitats.

These animals are important actors in fighting against the destructive human activities against the natural forest cover for charcoal burning, timber harvesting, agriculture and human settlement.

Mr Moses Ssemahunge Atwooki, the Manager Buliindi Chimpanzee and Community Project (BCCP), says the animal and or bird dispersed tree seeds later germinate in the fertile soils leading to environmental conservation and regeneration of natural plant species especially natural forests.

He adds that these non-human environmental actors move an extra mile indirectly replanting fruit trees like jackfruit trees that man has currently resorted to destroying for charcoal burning at the expense of keeping the environment green and other benefits like being sources of nutritious food.

The environmental expert drums up against forest destruction since the habitat provides food for fruit eating wild animals that pass out seeds for further greening essential for a healthy environment. 

Audio: Ssemahunge on chimpanzees’ forest conservation (English)

Mr Ssemahunge wears a face of disbelief that people who would otherwise be protecting forests from any kind of destruction are instead the frontline perpetrators; wondering how 90 per cent of natural forests like Bugoma in Bunyoro region have been decimated for agriculture, charcoal burning, timber cutting and other economic activities.

The project manager does not give up on the matter, urging all government stakeholders in authority to join hands with compassionate environmentalists to rally and create awareness to the masses about the important role fruit eating wild animals play in forest conservation for a green and healthy environment conducive for wildlife habitation and natural feeling to people.

By people being environmentally sensitive through forest preservation, Mr Ssemahunge says there will be a reduction in human-wildlife conflict in Uganda. 

Audio: Ssemahunge forest depletion (English)

The Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve and Hoima Central Wildlife Area Warden under the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Mr George Businge, warns people adjacent to the conservation area against any act of deforestation to satisfy their human needs involving expansion for various reasons since such an act certainly attracts climate change that by and by affects the biodiversity.

He stresses specifically that chimpanzees being agents of seed dispersal carrying out reforestation and afforestation, will help to recover the human perpetrated lost conducive weather patterns and the cool pleasant green environment in the country.

“If each and every one of us could act like those chimpanzees which can even plant trees, then the environment would be clearly preserved. So, the only problem we have with people in neighbouring reserve areas is that they like being tree cutters but not planters. We all need to emulate the life of those chimpanzees who think of planting trees in promoting environmental conservation.” Mr Businge said.

The warden longs for a time when all people will implement the laws, rules and regulations put in place to restore the environment.


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