Living on the edge maybe an adrenalin rush for some, but it’s very tough for others

13 Apr

Women and young children living on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest have a tough life

Every day is a major challenge . If it’s not collecting firewood or water to cook the meals it’s working the fields to grow the crops. Sometimes a threatened mountain gorilla will come out of the forest and raid the fields of a local which certainly doesn’t make it easy for those communities living on the edge of the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Teaching the locals all about the long term benefits of nature conservation and the financial rewards that ecotours can bring to the community is an ongoing task. Schools and clinics are built from the proceeds gorilla tourism brings to the area, but having ones crop raided by an invasive mountain gorilla can be financially ruining. Retribution from locals is often a temptation that park officials need to guard against

Young boys and men , as seen here , in the main road of Buhoma, where the park headquarters are ,often spend time herding their cattle and ensuring that the livestock doesn’t enter the forest and destroy the natural habitat with grazing .

Involving the local community to the benefits of conservation is paramount for any conservation project to succeed. The Rare Finch Conservation Group has started a public awareness program in the area to help educate the locals about the rarity of the Shelley’s crimsonwing finch. Our first group of ecotourists from Australia will be visiting the magnificent forest, with its 43 finch species, in August this year. And judging from initial demand it looks like there will be many more tours to the area, which will hopefully one day help uplift those struggling communities living on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group has no full-time staff members and every member of the group volunteers their skills and services in the interests of advancing finch conservation work. The RFCG is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation . It is totally dependent on donations and sponsorships for its future survival . The RFCG is currently raising funds ( US$ 25,000 is needed ) to finance its planned Phase 3 field research work in Uganda.  For more information on this pioneering conservation group please contact editor@avitalk.co.za

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