The Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) is partnering with Rwenzururu Kingdom in a campaign to conserve the Chimpanzees in the Rwenzori region.
The three-month campaign that is supported by the Fauna and Flora International was launched on Saturday at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park headquarters in Rwakingi in Kasese district.
During the campaign, UWA, Rwenzururu Kingdom and Fauna and Flora International will carry out sensitization to engage the local communities in conservation of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
The senior warden in charge of the National Park, Fredric Kiiza, said a research conducted by experts from UWA indicated that high level appreciation of the Chimpanzee contributes to the economic wellbeing of the local communities through tourism.
Kiiza said that people living on the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains are a major concern in the reduction of the Chimps population in the national park through poaching and killing them intentionally.
According to the national chimp census of 2002, there are approximately five thousand chimpanzees in Uganda with about five hundred of them in the Rwenzori National park.
Kiiza identified the major threats to the chimpanzees in the Rwenzori as accidental wire snaring by poachers, loss of habitats through cutting of forests for agriculture and lack of awareness and
participation by the surrounding population.
The campaign will target communities around the Rwenzori Mountains, school children, the public and policy makers.
Speaking at the launch, the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson Patrick Nyamunungu said culturally the Chimpanzee is not supposed to be endangered because it is one of the totems of the Bakonzo.
The chimpanzee is a totem for the Bathanji clan of the Bakonzo in the Rwenzururu Kingdom