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Mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Photo by Nick Penny

Greetings from Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH),

Happy World Wildlife Day!

World Wildlife Day is celebrated every year on 3rd March. This year’s theme is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”, highlighting the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystem services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally.

World Wildlife Day, and this year’s theme, resonate well with our mission to promote biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improving the health of people, wildlife and livestock and community livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas and wildlife rich habitats.

CTPH works closely with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), other conservation and health partners and the communities surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – home to almost half the world’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas. Impoverished community members living around this UNESCO World Heritage site enter the forest illegally, often in search of firewood and timber, putting the forest and survival of the mountain gorillas at risk. To reduce their need to enter the forest, CTPH trains Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs) to encourage their fellow community members to plant trees on their land, providing a source of income, timber and firewood.

View of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp

To reduce the pressure on Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, CTPH has established Gorilla Conservation Coffee, a social enterprise that pays a premium of $0.50 per kilo above the market price to coffee farmers living next door to the gorillas around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla Conservation Coffee further supports the farmers through training in sustainable coffee farming and processing. This helps to improve the coffee quality and increase production yield. Coffee farmers are trained to plant trees to provide shade, as well as to promote improved soil health and structure and reduce erosion and siltation of water sources. Supporting community members with an alternative livelihood like coffee farming provides a sustainable, livable income and reduces their need to enter the forest to meet basic needs such as food. This, in turn, helps to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and their fragile habitat.  A donation from every coffee bag sold also goes to support the community health, gorilla health and conservation education programs of CTPH.

Bags of Gorilla Conservation Coffee

In response to the rising poverty and desperation around Bwindi resulting from the collapse of tourism (on which many community members depended for income and employment) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CTPH started a “Ready to Grow” seedlings project in November 2020 to support most at risk homes with nutrition and food in the absence of tourism.

Community member from the Batwa settlement in Kashija-Bwindi, showing progress of cabbage and tomatoes .

Under the Biodiversity for Resilience (B4R) project funded by USAID, CTPH has expanded its activities to the four landscapes of Kidepo, Murchison Falls, Budongo and Lake Mburo National Park where we are supporting communities to manage wildlife outside protected areas. Focus is placed on recruiting and training community wildlife scouts; working with Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs) to improve the health of community members; and working with Community Conservation Animal Health Workers (CCAHW) to improve livestock production. This project is founded on CTPH’s core belief that an integrated One Health approach, addressing the health and wellbeing of people as well as that of wildlife and livestock, is critical to sustainable conservation.

CTPH team with VHCTs of Taa parish, Agago District and scouts of Katimongor, Abim District.

To join the World Wildlife Day celebrations here in Uganda, tune to NTV Uganda, NBS Television and Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Facebook live broadcast .The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) is also open for remote visitors from 9:00am-12:00pm (Uganda Time) to raise conservation awareness.

Global Giving Little by Little Campaign

This month, our fundraising partner Global Giving is running a Little by Little donations matching campaign from Monday, March 8 at 00:00:00 ET to Friday, March 12 at 23:59:59 ET.

During the Little by Little campaign, all eligible donations up to $50 per donor will be matched at 50%. These donations provide vital stability, allowing us to focus less on day-to-day fundraising and more on conserving and saving mountain gorillas and communities living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

As a partner, leader and a superstar organization on the Global Giving platform, CTPH’s project, the Gorilla Guardians of Bwindi, Uganda is eligible for matched funding. You can make a donation to CTPH between March 8th-12th to help us make the most of this opportunity.

Thank you so much for your support.

Happy World Wildlife Day!

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