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Example trip: Wildlife research

Lions Uganda Rungu Tours“Predator populations are rapidly declining. We are working hard to save them”, aldus Dr. Ludwig Siefert (Makerere University, Kampala & State University of North Dakota)

Lions, hyenas and leopards

A small team of researchers has founded Uganda Large Predator Project (ULPP). One of their main goals is monitoring the animals, of which some carry a transmitter collar. On a daily basis the researchers check if they are not ill or poisoned by the local people. because of this, the predator population has decreased over the  last few years. Apart from this, the researchers maintain and analyse a database containing research data, monitoring data and biodynamical data.

There is also The Uganda Community Carnivore Project that focuses on the relation between wildlife and the local communities. Through this the researchers try to educate the local community about the habitat and the habits of the large predators and their interest for the eco system.  They try to solve conflicts between local people and predators.   They try to convince the people that the animals atract tourists, who will bring profit to the region and to them.

During these differents game drives  with the researchers it is possible to spot the lions off track and to learn more about their way of life. For the leopards and hyenas some more patience is usually needed, but seeing the researchers in action is in itself an interesting experience.

Chimpanzees & community program

In the 'hidden' Kyambura Gorge, which contains a tropical rain forest,  there lives a large chimpanzee family. Here are also researchers who closely monitor these animals. On request it is possible to track the chimpanzees together with the researchers who can give a lot of information about them. There is no guarantee, however, that these animals will always be found. They roam around over large areas. The Gorge covers 16 kilometers and chimpanzees move quickly. Also, the gorge is wet and slippery so that in the wet season (Sept-Nov and March - April) it may be difficult to track these animals. The researchers are also connected to the Kyambura Women’s Coffee Project. This is a project in which local women learn to grow and process coffee of high quality. Coffee is one of the crops that are not eaten by the voracious baboons. So by growing coffee around their food gardens the people also protect their crops. There are about 1500 coffee plants, which are a rich source of income. besides this, a Wetland Project was founded. The aim is conversation and re-planting of crops in the Queen Elizabeth area, and in which the local population plays a key role. The researchers on these different projects look for diverse ways to combine wildlife preservation and local human communities.

Banded Mongoose

There is also a team that keeps daily contact with the lovely mongooses. There are 11 groups which are monitored with the help of radio collars and antennas. The largest group contains 34 animals. All mongooses, including the babies are marked by a special signs on their fur, so that they can easlily be recognised and identified by the researchers. It is possible to join the researchers as an assistant monitoring their behaviour: finding food, resting, agression, movement, feeding their young, grooming each other and the warthogs. Some years ago, the BBC made an elaborate documentary about this team and the mongooses. Note: if it rains, the tracking will be cancelled because then the animals will stay hidden. The trackings will take place in the morning or at the beginning of the afternoon (when it is not too hot) or later in the afternnon. Participants need to be 18 or older.

Visit to the Katwe Salt Lake 

The Katwe Salt lake is an important source of income for the local people. People have been working here since the 14th century, but the circumstances are disturbing because the strong chemicals can affect the skin and internal organs. Workers need good protection. During a excursion one of the local guides will tell about the history and the background of this work. The best time to go is during the dry season (January-March or July-August) when about five thousand people work in and around the lake.

Salt Uganda Rungu Tours

Queen Elizabeth Lion Uganda

Example tour Queen Elizabeth

DAY 1

  • Lion tracking with researcher
  • Lunch
  • Visit to the Katwe Salt Lake, with guide
  • Lion/leopard/hyena tracking with researchers (possibly in the evening)

DAY 2

  • Chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge with primate researcher
  • Lecture with explanation about the tracking and the researcher's work
  • Coffee plantation and processing tour and Wetland tour (contact with local people)

DAY 3

  • Interaction at the Leopard Village Project, for instance: Helping on the land, getting information about their vision on the project, local people tell about their experience with leopards and lions etc.
  • Prepare local lunch together (cooking workshop)
  • Craft workshop/ helping with traditional cottages
  • Prepare dinner together, enjoy local cultural performances during dinner

DAY 4

  • Participate in Mongoose tracking with researcher
  • Tracking different mongoose families. Recording behaviroal data:  collecting food, resting, aggression, movement, feeding their young, grooming each other and the warth hogs
  • lunch together
  • Continue gathering, processing and discussing data

(it is also possible to do this activity for half a day)

DAY 5

  • In search of the tree-Climbing lions, together with  a researcher
  • Walk around the crater lake or boat cruise on Kazinga Channel

Combined activities with other parks:

  • Gorillas Bwindi /Magahinga
  • Rwenzori Mountain tracking
  • Kibale (extra tracking with researcher)
  • Relaxing at Lake Buyonyi
  • Lake Mburo (extra leopard tracking with researcher)

NOTE: Apart from chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth NP it is also possible to visit Kibale Forest NP and do the tracking there. Chances to see the animals there are greater. On request, it is also possible to visit the gorillas with the primate researcher who will explain about their behaviour.

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