UGANDA risks running out of gorillas and monkeys for biomedical research, wildlife experts have said.
Makerere University lecturer Prof. Gilbert Basuta on Friday said it was not clear where the countryâ€™s primates were located or what their numbers were.
â€œWe do not know how far they go along the hill tops of Rwenzori or Bwindi, and whether they come back. Without these primates keeping here, I am afraid, biomedical research will be difficult, because we will not have anything on which to test or to use in studying diseases like HIV,â€ he said.
Basuta said this during a wildlife public dialogue at the Uganda Museum in Kampala.
The dialogue, under the theme â€˜Why should we respect and conserve the worldâ€™s primates?â€™, was organised by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Basuta said people were not different from such primates, adding that they had more or less the same cognitive abilities.
A wildlife conservation society research scientist, Dr. William Olupot, said, â€œMuch as we receive about 50% revenue from tourism, we need to realise that we run a risk of harming people if we just used the vaccines on them directly.â€
Their remarks followed concerns by William Nsubuga that the government had failed to halt deforestation, which denied the beasts of shelter.
Gorilla numbers fall