By Gerald Tenywa
Every time Olive Baguma, a resident of Kyabigambire in Hoima district wants to increase food production she goes to her backyard and cuts down more trees in order to expand her garden.
Unknowingly, the forest patches is what chimps have always called home and the expansive farmland is fueling conflict between human beings and chimpanzees.
This week, a chimpanzee mauled three people near Masindi municipality. One of them, John Bazarwa, lost two fingers in an attempt to guard his children from an attack.
The animal had strayed into the neighbourhood for about a week before it was provoked into aggression by a drunkard.
In June last year, a seven-year-old Ankunda, from Bwikara in Kibaale was attacked by chimpazees as he walked along the forest in Kibaale National Park.
In July 2012, six-month-old Noeline Asiimwe sustained injuries on her right leg after an irate chimpanzee snatched her from her mother’s back, before fleeing with her into the forest.
According to Paul Hatanga, Conservation Officer at CSWCT, about 300 chimps live in the forest patches on private land between Budongo in Masindi and Bugoma in Hoima where Baguma and many of her colleagues are expanding their farming activities.
“The deforestation rate in Bunyoro is estimated at 5.1% every year ahead of the national average estimated at 2.1%,” said Hatanga.
In the last census, the total population of chimps in the Albertine rift was estimated at 5,000. He said destruction of the wildlife corridor will confine the chimps to forest reserves resulting to inbreeding.
Over 300 chimps under threat in Bunyoro