Welcome to the Budongo Conservation Field Station's website where you will find a wealth of information about the conservation activities and research opportunities at BCFS (formerly Budongo Forest Project).
Since its inception in 1990, BCFS has blended research and conservation to ensure sustainable management and utilisation of the Budongo Forest Reserve as a model for tropical rain forest management. We aim to continue generating world-class scientific research on primates and topical forest ecology as well as diversifying our research programme to encompass other biological taxa, and to use this information to support policy development, conservation action and sustainable resource management.
In 2007 BCFS was registered as a Ugandan NGO. It is now recognised among the conservation fraternity in Uganda.BCFS works closely with Makerere University's School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security. We offer research facilities for staff and students from various Ugandan and international universities. We also offer internship opportunities for university students studying Forestry, Conservation Biology and Wildlife Veterinary Medicine. In addition to these links with academia, BCFS collaborates with statutory institutions such as the National Forest Authority and Uganda Wildlife Authority to promote conservation initiatives and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology to undertake various research and long-term monitoring projects.
We welcome scientists and students from any institution to be part of this research programme. In addition, we are strengthening our community conservation programme by working with village farmers along the forest edge on projects aimed at improving their livelihoods while conserving the forest resource base. These projects include environmental education for adults and school children, integrated eco-health, farm income generating activities that minimise dependence on forest resources, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict and bush meat hunting.
In 2011 BCFS opened its refurbished and purpose-equipped field laboratory at Sonso. The laboratory has enhanced our capacity to conduct effective wildlife disease diagnosis as well as provide training facilities for wildlife veterinarians in Uganda.
In recent years the habituation of the Waibira chimpanzee community, east of the famous Sonso community studied since 1990, has been undertaken. The habituation of a second community offers us opportunities to host more researchers as well as develop insights into inter-community chimpanzee interactions, and to conduct comparative studies.
In 2013, BCFS established a partnership with the Earthwatch Institute which engages volunteers to participate in our research and conservation activities. Earthwatch volunteers have assisted in investigations to determine whether changes in climate and/or insect pollinators are responsible for the reduction in the number of fruiting trees, and the implications of reduced tree fruiting in the area on the conflict between fruit-eating wildlife and humans. In addition the volunteers enjoy the unique experience of observing wild primates. We hope this successful partnership will continue into the future.
The work of BCFS depends on funding from outside sources. We are fortunate to receive gnerous and regular funding from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland(RZSS) for our core operations of running the field station The ARCUS Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Resources, and AZA Ape Tag provided support to establish the chimpanzee disease and health monitoring programme. For many years Oakland Zoo has funded our snare removal and community education programmes. Our primate research is made possible by grants from the BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Fyssen Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation, European Research Council, and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. To all these bodies and many others that have supported us in the past we extend our grateful thanks.
Dr. Fred Babweteera
(RZSS Regional Coordinator, Africa)
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Chimpanzee photos by Florian Moellers