UPDATES FROM THE ONGOING TRAINING OF PARK STAFF IN BWINDI AND MGAHINGA CONSERVATION AREA (BMCA)

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We hope that you and your family are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

As the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this week our team led by our Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka set out to Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area to train park staff on how to manage and prevent COVID-19 spread amongst people and from humans to gorillas.

The training which started on Tuesday 24th March 2020 reached out to all the tourism trekking sites targeting wardens, head rangers and head trackers.  This will be followed by additional training workshops for all the remaining park staff that will be held at the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

We are doing this training in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority, Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Bwindi Community Hospital, International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Max Planck Institute and the Uganda Ministry of Health.

CTPH Founder and Chief Veterinary Technician Stephen Rubanga with Uganda Wildlife Authority Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Robert Aruho training park staff at the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

On 25th March 2020, Uganda Wildlife Authority suspended primate tourism in Uganda’s protected areas because of the disease risks posed to gorillas and other primates from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommendations were generated during the training for park staff and other essential personnel who are monitoring and protecting the gorillas during this critical time and for tourists, researchers and other visitors to the gorillas when the park reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the key recommendations during the training was that every person visiting the gorillas including park staff, tourists and researchers must have their temperature tested before setting off for gorilla trekking.

Dr Gladys demonstrating how to measure the body temperature using a non contact infrared thermometer

Other recommendations include:-

  1. Mandatory wearing of face masks by every person visiting the gorillas including park staff, tourists and researchers while viewing gorillas
  2. Park staff, tourists and researchers with flu or cough should not be allowed to go to the forest.
  3. Mandatory hand washing using soap and water and disinfectant before trekking.
  4. Viewing of gorillas at a minimum distance of 7 meters at all times.
Dr Gladys leads a team of rangers for practical training while monitoring mountain gorillas at the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

We are grateful to Uganda Wildlife Authority for giving us an opportunity to train the park staff at this critical time of the coronavirus pandemic.

We greatly thank the International Gorilla Conservation Programme for financial support towards training of the park staff.

We urgently need non contact Infrared thermometers for all tourism and research sites of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

We urgently need to conduct the same training with Gorilla Guardians and Village Health and Conservation Teams to prevent COVID-19 spreading between people and from people to endangered mountain gorillas.

Please see our appeal towards this action plan on Global Giving here.

Thank you very much for your support at this critical time.

Please keep safe during this coronavirus pandemic

From all of us at CTPH


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