31 Jan Happy New Year from CTPH!
Greetings from Conservation Through Public Health and Happy New Year! We hope you started 2022 on a good note.
We are overjoyed to let you know that the year has started well here in Bwindi, with amazing news of two newborn baby gorillas in January 2022. The first gorilla baby to be born in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 2022 was registered on January 20, 2022 to an adult female called Nyabwoba of the Christmas family in the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi. This new birth increased the number of individuals in the Christmas gorilla family from 6 to 7, and is an important addition to the delicate population of the few surviving mountain gorillas in the world.
Another baby was born on 23rd January 2022 to an adult female called Twijukye of the Mukiza gorilla group in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This new birth now raises the Mukiza family to 16 members. Positive news like this is truly uplifting as we strive to save this incredible species – and we couldn’t wait to share the news with you!
In October 2021, Conservation Through Public Health and Uganda Wildlife Authority carried out a training of 114 Human and Gorilla Conflict Resolution Teams (HUGOs)/Gorilla Guardians at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 6 parishes – Mukono, Bujengwe, Mpungu, Buremba, Nteko and Rubuguri. The key training topics included COVID-19 history, signs and symptoms, vaccination, different variants, and prevention of COVID-19 among people and from people to mountain gorillas. HUGOs or Gorilla Guardians are community members who volunteer their time to support conservation efforts by helping with Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution as well as Gorilla Health Monitoring when gorillas are in community land.
Other topics included understanding and enforcing the Great Ape viewing guidelines and gorilla health monitoring including practical sessions through recognizing and reporting clinical signs and non-invasive collection of gorilla faecal samples for analysis at the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre.
The training was led by Richard Bagyenyi, CTPH Program Coordinator and Joseph Arineitwe, UWA Ecological Monitoring and Research Warden, who were supported by other members of the CTPH team including Stephen Rubanga, CTPH Co-Founder and Chief Veterinary Technician and Annaclet Ampeire, CTPH Wildlife Health and Laboratory Technician.
Joseph Arinaitwe, UWA Ecological Monitoring and Research Warden requested the HUGOs to remind other community members that human-gorilla conflict can lead to transmission of zoonotic diseases. ‘HUGOs are the eyes of the people in the community and Uganda Wildlife Authority,’ added Stephen Rubanga, CTPH Co-Founder and Chief Veterinary Technician.
A key highlight was presenting Gorilla Guardian T- shirts, which were generously donated by Laura Anrdt of Global GreenSTEM. They were handed over by our Founder and CEO, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka in appreciation for their noble service in helping to keep the mountain gorillas safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
We would like to greatly thank Milkywire, and individual donors who funded the training. We are also extremly grateful to Laura Arndt of Global GreenSTEM for sponsoring the t-shirts, and our implementing partners – Uganda Wildlife Authority, Bwindi Community Hospital, Kisoro and Kanungu District local governments for making this training possible.
You can help us to continue supporting the HUGOs/Gorilla Guardians by donating to the Global Giving Campaign ‘Gorilla Guardians of Bwindi, Uganda.’
Gorilla Trekking Film (Uganda) by One Health Production
We are thrilled to share the recent film production, Gorilla Trekking Film (Uganda), by One Health Productions that features our Founder and CEO – Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area Chief Warden – Nelson Guma; Bwindi Ranger Guide – Peace Niwanyine, UWA Sales Manager – Paul Ninsiima, International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) Communications and Advocacy Manager – Alice Mbayahi and Patron of the African Primatological Society and Chair of IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group – Dr. Russell Mittermeier.
Gorilla Trekking Film (Uganda) is based on research that was conducted by Allison Carden Hanes, Founder of One Health Productions, in partnership with CTPH, the work and gorilla trekking recommendations were published in Primate Conservation journal – “Assessment of Health Risks Posed by Tourists Visiting Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda”. The film(s) include IUCN Best Practice Great Ape Tourism Guidelines and clarify new protocols set in place since the Covid-19 pandemic, including mandatory use of face masks. After filming in July 2021, the ten minute film version has been shown at UWA briefing points since December 2021 where tourists view it immediately before trekking to learn how to protect mountain gorillas from human diseases and vice versa.