Ever since, President Yoweri Museveni declared a lockdown last month as a way controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic, business has never been the same. All the country’s economic sectors such as tourism have been negatively affected.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary has also not been spared either; it has been hit hard since no activity is taking place in the conservation park to bring in some revenue.
The sanctuary caretakers are now seeking public support to feed the chimpanzees if they are to survive.
Dorothy Basemera, the Guest Relations and Partnership Officer at Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust, says due to the recent outbreak of the pandemic and travel ban, which has affected the cash flow of Chimpanzee Trust since all its operations are dependent on tourists and donors, Chimpanzee Trust will not be able to sustain its operations at Ngamba Island for the rest of the year.
“A chimpanzee needs to consume about 10-15% of its body mass in fruits and vegetables to be healthy and well. We are currently only able to give about 6% of the body weight since our chimpanzee are not as active as wild chimpanzees. To achieve this,The chimpanzees on Ngamba Island are fed four times a day, in measured portions to ensure that all chimpanzees receive a relatively adequate share. This is done every 3-4 hours between 7am and 6:30pm in the evening,” said Basemera in a statement issued on Thursday.
“The first feeding is done early in the morning at 7;30am, with each chimpanzee getting a handful of whole-grain maize meal commonly known as Posho, accompanied by half a banana (bogoya). The next two meals consist of a handful of furit and vegetable each at 11am and 2:30pm, respectively. The last meal of the day (supper), is a bowl of watered millet porridge and some cabbage or maize. Every once in a while, a boiled may be given for protein intake. (twice a month).”
The daily feeding of one chimpanzee at Ngamba Island costs 16,060/=( Sixteen Thousand Sixty Shillings) and for a month 481,800/=. This includes the cost of procuring and delivering the food to them. Therefore the Trust needs a total of 24,090,000/= ( Twenty Four Million Ninety Thousand Shillings only) to feed all the 50 chimpanzees within its care at Ngamba Island each month.
A few days ago, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) also pleaded for public help to feed the animals under its care.
The centre’s executive Director Dr James Musinguzi said they have now made a request to government for support to ensure that the animals’ welfare is taken care of.
He says they have submitted a request of Shs1.5 billion to government through the National COVID 19 taskforce and is optimistic some help will be availed.
About Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary:
The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in 1998 for the care and welfare of entrusted animals while conserving the ecosystem of the island.
The sanctuary was established as the first step of a combined national and international initiative and a globally recognized collaborative conservation effort geared towards developing and implementing a long-term strategy for the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat.
Ngamba Island managed by Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust is home to now 50 chimpanzees, with the recent birth of the newborn female baby.
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