Working to ensure a sustainable future for Kibale National Park
The North Carolina Zoo’s UNITE for the Environment Program (UNITE) operates on the south side of Uganda’s Kibale National Park in the village of Bigodi. UNITE’s mission is to conserve wild areas in and around Kibale National Park by inspiring the next generation of Ugandan conservationists and fostering an appreciation of nature and wildlife in rural communities. UNITE has four full-time staff in Bigodi, Uganda who work on a daily basis with teachers and students in rural communities in the Kibale National Park area. By having our own staff on the ground 365 days a year we are able to increase the impact and scope of our conservation education activities.
Kibale National Park is one of Africa’s most important rainforests. It is home to a variety of endangered species such as the African golden cat, elephant and blue duiker. However, Kibale National Park is most well known for having the largest chimpanzee (pan troglodytes schweinfurthi) population in all of East AfricaŚas well as the largest chimpanzee group in the wild. Additionally, Kibale is host to the most diverse population of primates in all of Africa.
The magnificent biodiversity found in Kibale National Park faces great challenges. At 3.3%, Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Human settlement outside the park is increasing on an order of magnitude far greater than the natural resources outside the park can provideŚmeaning the park is experiencing greater pressure from human impacts than ever before.