Protecting Chimpanzees from Snares
Working with Ngogo Chimpanzee Project, the North Carolina Zoo is able to protect one of the largest chimpanzee population in the wild. The Zoo supports the operation cost of three snare removal teams active in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Armed with Zoo-supplied mobile devices and a database developed here, these teams are trained in the use of new technology to better catalogue the snares they remove. Our support ensures that the Park can be a safe haven for chimpanzees and other wildlife.
Large Population - Threatened Chimpanzees
Uganda’s Kibale National Park is home to one of the largest population of chimpanzees in the world, making it an important area for this threatened species. Despite its importance, the Kibale chimpanzee population are under constant threat from poaching, particularly snaring. People set snares trying to catch other animals for food, but chimpanzees often get caught as well. As many as one-third of the chimpanzees in the park are missing body parts (in particular hands and feet) because of snare-related injuries.
Ramping Up Anti-Poaching Efforts
Since 2010, the North Carolina Zoo has been working with the Ugandan NGO Ngogo Chimpanzee Project as well as several other local partners to protect chimps and other species in Kibale. Ngogo Chimpanzee Project employs two anti-poaching teams who work with Uganda Wildlife Authority law enforcement to patrol the park and remove snares. The Zoo has provided these anti-poaching teams with mobile devices equipped with a database developed by the Zoo to make for more streamlined collection of data on chimp movements and poacher activities. This system also allows for easier data evaluation, which in turn results in better-informed future patrolling efforts. The anti-poaching teams also remove snares which helps to reduce the impact of hunting on chimpanzees and other threatened wildlife living in the park.
Our efforts are having a substantial impact. Since the start of the snare removal, no chimps have been snared (previously an average of 1 chimpanzee had been snared per year). In 2016, with Zoo support, the program was able to add a third snare removal team, which has focused in a new area where they have seen a greater number of snares and thus their efforts are even more needed.
Reaching Out Through Environmental Education
In addition to supporting the patrols, Ngogo Chimpanzee Project has worked with North Carolina Zoo’s UNITE conservation education program to improve education in schools around Kibale National Park. You can read more about the Zoo’s UNITE project on this page.
Zoo Visitors Contribute Directly
Zoo visitors can directly support the Zoo’s chimpanzee work, by depositing funds into the donation box near the chimpanzee exhibit. Funds donated in this way have allowed us to cover between 15-30% of the snare removal team’s core operating costs depending on the year.
Partners: Ngogo Chimpanzee Project, Kibale Chimp Project, Uganda Wildlife Authority