The mission of the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) is to conserve the population of chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, Uganda. Our objectives are to keep daily records of the chimpanzees, facilitate research on them, provide conservation education for local people, remove snares from the forest, and increase our veterinary capacity in order to deal with chimpanzee morbidity and mortality. The BCFS was established in 1990. We cover the Budongo Forest Reserve in Masindi District, Western Uganda. Target species is the chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii, and we additionally conserve three forest monkey species: the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), the black and white colobus monkey (Colobus guereza), and the red-tailed monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius).
The present study has shown that the Budongo chimpanzees eat the decaying pith of Raphia farinifera, a swamp forest palm tree, to obtain sodium. This species has all but disappeared from the forest owing to its excessive use by tobacco farmers, who use it to tie their leaves during the drying and curing process (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0006194). As a result the chimpanzees have now switched to eating the decaying wood of a swamp forest tree, Cleistopholis patens. We are documenting the availability of this tree. And we are engaged in discussions with local tobacco growers, their representatives, and the senior staff of BAT and other tobacco companies, to attempt to get them to work with farmers to use cotton string instead of raphia twine.
Project 10251055 location - Uganda, Africa