Although they were sometimes known in past for poaching wildlife, the Batwa community of Bwindi Forest proved in July that they have transitioned into genuine conservation partners.
Batwa Community team leaders Tom Tumwesigye and Mr. Kanyamugara came across a pangolin in the community garden in Batwa Empowerment Village and swiftly arranged for its return to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
This is a great example to other communities bordering the national park and entire country that pangolins deserve to be protected — even though many locals believe the animal is good for medicinal purposes. The endangered animal is very slow moving and therefore be easy to kill. But thanks to the Batwas of Bwindi, who made a wise decision by relocating it to the gorilla reserve, this particular pangolin escaped that fate. Next time you’re on a gorilla trip, keep an eye out for this bonus sighting.
Did you know that pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world? Did you know that since 2014, pangolins were classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of threatened species?
The pangolin trade is driven by demand in Asia, notably China and Vietnam, where pangolin meat is consumed as a delicacy and for social status, and the scales used in traditional Chinese medicine. The threat of illegal trafficking is further compounded by habitat loss facing the species.
According to Uganda Conservation Foundation, Uganda is home to four pangolin species: the tree or white bellied pangolins, giant pangolin, cape or Temmink’s ground pangolin, and the long-tailed black bellied pangolin.
The Pangolin Conservation Project, funded by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, works with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and other conservation partners to improve capacity, locate release zones within the national parks, and equip UWA with proper equipment for rescuing confiscated pangolins.
With the Batwa onboard for these conservation efforts, the future of pangolins and other species around Bwindi is promising. Make Batwa Community Experience part of your trip and empower them so that they appreciate the benefits of conservation.