Jane Goodall Institute Uganda and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust Form Partnership to Implement Integrated Program in Support
of the Endangered Chimpanzees, Habitat and
the Communities of Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge, Uganda (May 15, 2021) Jane Goodall Institute Uganda (JGI) and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) announce a long-term partnership for supporting the threatened chimpanzee community at Kyambura Gorge. The plight of a small community of 28 chimpanzees, isolated from other chimpanzee communities has brought these two organizations together to support their future survival, in collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
For the last eleven years, the VSPT, which is funded by Volcanoes Safaris, guests, and private donors, has been champions for these chimpanzees. As COVID-19 continues to impact tourism in Uganda, the partnership with JGI will significantly reinforce community-led conservation and ecotourism development centered around the Kyambura Gorge landscape in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. The National Park is one of the most biodiverse areas in Africa, but the surrounding area remains under threat of habitat loss and degradation from increasing human activity.
The partnership will focus on the following five key objectives:
Expanding community outreach programs through the JGI Roots & Shoots program and VSPT Community Centre
Expanding the VSPT buffer zone to protect chimpanzee habitat
Developing ecotourism activities
Diversifying local livelihoods and improving smart crop husbandry
Evaluating the feasibility of restoring habitat to re-connect chimpanzee communities
"Focused efforts to help the chimpanzees of Kyambura is another great example of how the Jane Goodall Institute supports individuals and their communities, as well as populations of chimpanzees across their range,” said Anna Rathmann, Executive Director of Jane Goodall Institute USA. “There is significant potential for community-driven conservation - especially through sustainable ecotourism - and we look forward to what this partnership will deliver for these chimpanzees."
While the Kyambura Gorge forest offers the chimpanzees protection, the increasing agricultural cultivation and development nearby are leading to fragmentation of ecosystem services, increased environmental pollution, greater human-wildlife conflict, and enhanced probability of spread of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.
Being cut off from neighboring forests means the chimpanzees cannot connect with other chimp communities, which could lead to health threats caused by inbreeding and potentially local extinction in the long term. Safeguarding the future of these chimpanzees and working to reconnect them to nearby habitats and other chimpanzee groups, while providing local human communities with economic benefits is the key to the chimpanzees’ survival, and the focus of the JGI and VSPT partnership. Both organizations have successfully executed practical models on the ground that link conservation of great apes with community development and ecotourism models in Uganda and other parts of Africa, which they will use as potential models.
Founder of Volcanoes Safaris and Chair of VSPT, Praveen Moman, shared “As pioneers of great ape ecotourism we believe strongly in linking our lodges to chimpanzee conservation and giving communities a stake in conservation and tourism. This partnership will build on our decade-long work in the Kyambura Gorge Landscape. We’re excited for this partnership with JGI to reinforce the foundation we’ve started and provide their unique resources to scale the necessary activations this cause needs.”
This partnership will build on the Jane Goodall Institute’s expertise in chimpanzee conservation, research, and community outreach. It will support holistic ecosystem health and socio-economic wellbeing as part of the JGI’s Tacare community-driven conservation approach which is integral to the long-term sustainability of the wildlife resources protection efforts - an approach that relies on the knowledge and expertise of local communities - JGI looks forward to the growth of this partnership to include other stakeholders, both public and private.
Volcanoes Safaris (VS) and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) bring over twenty years of expertise in great ape eco-tourism and working with communities on developing skills that can be applied in hospitality to enhance their livelihoods while supporting chimpanzee and gorilla conservation. In particular, this partnership builds on the decade-long work VSPT has done in this region through the Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project, making them an important stakeholder in the Kyambura Gorge landscape working alongside the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the local communities.
JGI and VSPT strongly believe a partnership working with other important stakeholders such as the UWA and other community and conservation organizations can support the endangered chimpanzee community. It can also contribute significantly to safeguarding the Kyambura Gorge landscape through local community outreach and supporting community livelihood and ecotourism development. The two organizations will begin this partnership with the implementation of a participatory planning process involving local stakeholders, organizational staff, and technical experts. That plan will form the basis of the work to be undertaken through the JGI/VSPT partnership over the coming years.
The VSPT Kyambura Community and Conservation Center serves as a major resource for the neighboring communities and is key to the partnership. VSPT will continue to extend the existing three-kilometer buffer zone it has created along the gorge; use of the football pitch to develop local sporting talent among young people; enhance the training in skills offered by the Kyambura Cafe and hospitality training center; expand the women’s coffee cooperative; develop the wetland for guests and local environmental education; as well as support conservation through trainings and workshops for teachers and community.
How To Get Involved & Help
With Uganda’s airports and parks open to international tourists with covid precautions and protocols in place, travelers have the unique opportunity to be part of the effort to safeguard the Kyambura Gorge. Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Lodge with 8 luxury bandas, fully renovated in 2019, is the ideal location for tracking the lost chimps of Kyambura. For each safari booking, $100 per person is donated to the VSPT to fund the projects. Guests can participate in a variety of social impact activities to benefit the local community and environment. Such activities include, a 3-hour guided nature walk to see the 3km long buffer, scenic views over the gorge, the park and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, and the chance to experience the lives of local communities. Additionally, guests can contribute to the reforestation project, by planting their own indigenous trees to add to those already planted in the buffer area.
For a full list of activities, reference the Kyambura Gorge Eco Project. Rates start at $430 USD per person per night or $3,288 USD per person for a 4-day safari.
This eclectic safari lodge, fully upgraded during 2018 and 2019 with entirely remodelled public areas and gardens, has been converted from an old coffee store to create a breathtakingly beautiful space. The lodge is located on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park with sweeping views of the rolling savanna, the distant mountains of the moon, and the sunken Kyambura Gorge.
Eight unique luxury bandas, reflecting the local building style (4 of them deluxe bandas).
Personal butler service for all guests.
All bandas have mosquito nets, 240v lighting, charging stations and a private balcony.
Bandas are individually named after the Kyambura Gorge chimpanzees.
Swimming pool and new spa.
Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge building.
Premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus.
Rwanda & Uganda Covid Policies for International Guests:
According to the Rwanda Development Board, all passengers, including those in transit through Rwanda, will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a certified laboratory, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Rwanda. For passengers entering Rwanda, a second test will be conducted upon arrival, with results delivered within 24 hours during which time travelers will be required to self-quarantine in a designated hotel at their own cost. All tourism activities, including primate trekking within Rwanda’s national parks, have now resumed in line with enhanced COVID-19 prevention measures. For more information on the tourism reopening guidelines, please visit: http://www.rdb.rw/visitrwandaguidelines.
Passengers arriving in Uganda must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test done within 120 hours prior to landing. Passengers leaving Uganda must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test done within 72 hours before boarding. Mandatory use of masks and social distancing of 5 feet within the terminals will be enforced. Access will be barred to those without a face mask. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has opened all parks with safety restrictions in place, and primate tourism is once again available. UWA has introduced the following procedures which will remain in effect when borders re-open for international tourism: Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at key tourism gates. Mandatory face masks while inside parks. All tourists participating in primate tracking activities should carry at least two N95 masks, surgical masks, or double-layered cloth masks with filters. Mandatory hand washing/sanitizing all the entrances of all UWA premises and protected areas.
About Volcanoes Safaris:
Volcanoes Safaris is recognized as the leader in great ape tourism specializing in mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda and Uganda. With four eco-safari lodges, guests can enjoy all the highlights of Uganda and Rwanda in comfort and style while primate trekking through Africa. Guests can also experience and take part in the eco-tourism and conservation efforts with the local communities, developed by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT).
About Jane Goodall Institute:
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global, community-centered conservation organization founded in 1977 that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall in over 30 countries around the world. Its aim is to understand and protect chimpanzees, other apes, and their habitats, and empower people to be compassionate citizens in order to inspire conservation of the natural world we all share. JGI uses research, collaboration with local communities, best-in-class animal welfare standards, and the innovative use of science and technology to inspire hope and transform it into action for the common good. Through JGI’s Roots & Shoots program for young people of all ages, now active in over 68 countries around the world, JGI is creating an informed and compassionate critical mass of people who will help to create a better world for people, other animals, and our shared environment.