The Mission to Save Primates in Uganda


When it comes to combating deforestation, Uganda is not monkeying around. In a persisting war against years of environmental destruction, Uganda is taking aggressive steps to help protect it’s diverse species from the devastating consequences of habitat loss. Over the next few years, the goal is to plant 3 million trees to help restore the lush, spacious landscape that has coated Uganda for centuries.


This ambitious plan has been formatted through the collaboration of the Jane Goodall Institute and One Tree Planted. The mission, dubbed the “Wildlife Habitat and Corridor Restoration Project,” seeks to replenish the natural world and bring back the forests that are home to countless unique and irreplaceable species. “We need to protect the existing forests. We need to try and restore the forest and the land around the forest that has not been degraded for too long,” Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, famous primatologist and anthropologist, explains. “Where the seeds and roots in the ground can sprout up and once again reclaim that land and make it an amazing forest ecosystem.”


The effort comes at a critical time, where both the necessity and the difficulty of protecting Uganda’s forests are at an historic high. “In the past 25 years, Uganda has lost 65% of its forest cover due to tree-cutting for firewood, timber and charcoal, as well as the growth of farms and towns, according to the National Forest Authority,” Reuter writer Liam Taylor writes. The devastation is to such an extent that recent studies have pinpointed the amount of forest being torn down at a mind-blowing 200,000 hectares a year. Not only does this deplenish tree populations, but many of the extraordinary species native to Uganda are in danger of extinction. For instance, the golden monkey, a primate named for its often vibrantly orange and opulent fur, has seen a dramatic reduction in numbers in recent years. Moreover, the Uganda mangabey, a highly intelligent black-coated monkey named for its nativity to Uganda, has been on a formidable decline at the hands of decades-old deforestation efforts. 


While the situation is dire, so is the diligent conviction of the brave activists taking the issue head-on. Even as the future is sure to take uncertain and more-often-than-not unwelcome turns, the devotion of environmentalists to protect chimpanzees and the hundreds of other species that call Uganda home is to remain unbeatable.