Jane Goodall Institute and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust Partner on Integrated Program to Support

the Endangered Chimpanzees, Habitat and

the Communities of Kyambura Gorge

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Kyambura Gorge, Uganda (February XX, 2021) Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) are pleased to announce a long term public–private partnership for supporting the threatened chimpanzee population at Kyambura Gorge. For the last 9 years, the VSPT, which is funded through tourism dollars and private donors, have been solely championing these chimpanzees.  As COVID-19 continues to impact tourism in Uganda, the partnership with JGI will bring the necessary reinforcement to empower community led conservation and ecotourism development centred 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 is under threat of habitat degradation from increasing human activity. 

 

The plight of a family of 28 chimpanzees in the incredible Kyambura Gorge, isolated from other chimpanzee populations have brought these two organizations together to support their future survival, in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. While the Kyambura Gorge forest offers the chimps protection, the growing human population in the surrounding areas, undertaking increasing cultivation and development, is leading to environmental pollution, greater human-wildlife conflict and risk spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Being cutoff from neighboring forests means the chimps cannot connect with other chimp communities, which could lead to health threats caused by inbreeding and potentially extinction in the long term. Safeguarding the future of these chimps and working to reconnect them to nearby forests, while providing local communities with economic benefits is the key to their future survival, and the mission of the JGI and VSPT partnership. Both organizations have successfully executed practical models on the ground that link conservation of great apes with community and ecotourism models in other parts of Africa, which they will use as potential models. 

This partnership will build on the Jane Goodall Institute’s expertise in chimpanzee conservation, research, and community outreach. It will support holistic ecosystems' 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. 

 

Volcanoes Safaris (VS) and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) brings over twenty years of expertise in great ape eco-tourism and working with communities on enhancing skills and 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 the most important stakeholder in the Kyambura Gorge landscape after the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the local community.

 

JGI and VSPT strongly believe a partnership between the two organisations, working with other important stakeholders such as the UWA and other community and conservation organizations can support the endangered chimp population. It can also contribute significantly to safeguarding the Kyambura Gorge landscape through community outreach and supporting community livelihood and ecotourism development. 

The VSPT Kyambura Community and Conservation Center serves as a major resource for the neighbouring communities and is key to the partnership. VSPT will continue to extend the existing three kilometre 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 centre; expand the women’s coffee cooperative; develop the wetland for guests and local education; support conservation through trainings and workshops for teachers and community.

How To Get Involved & Help

 

Eco-Tourism 

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.

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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. 
 

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) announced on September 3 that all parks are open 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. Observation of social distancing required. Vehicles and boats within parks will operate at half capacity in accordance with government social distancing guidelines.  Visitors to parks are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer and face mask.  The full standard operating procedures can be read here.

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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).

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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.


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Media Contact:

Volcanoes Safaris

Alexandra Avila

1-754-303-2048

Jane Goodall Institute
Shawn Sweeney

1-703-682-9283

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