There is a tricky situation at the moment caused by the gorillas of the Rugendo Group who are continuing their bad habit of entering fields on the outskirts of the park to eat crops. As Emmanuel wrote on this blog in March, we are looking into solutions to this problem.
The Rangers tracking the Rugendo group are using GPS and geo-tagging equipment to determine their exact location each day. For example, on the map below you can see where the Rugendo Group were seen outside the park over the past week- you can see the clear demarcation between the greenery of the park on the right and the crops on the left.
The group was more than a kilometer away from the park boundary on the 14th May and they actually spent the night outside the park. By the 16th they had returned to the forest (passing though Area 1 on our Protect the Park Map- see pics by clicking on square 1) but unfortunately they only spent a couple days there before returning to the maize fields.
The silverback Bukima in a sorghum field today
The gorillas are going outside of the park to eat maize, mountain papayas, and bamboo shoots. The villagers are understandably annoyed, since maize is an important source of food for them and the bamboo is a key material for building their houses and fences.
The blackback Baseka munching on some maize
The Rugendo family in a maize and sorghum field
We are very concerned by this situation and are doing everything we can to prevent a tragedy such as the incident in Uganda in March when two mountain gorillas were killed by a farmer. The chief Ranger at Bukima Patrol Post Jean-Marie Serundori was on site today and he is in continuous dialogue with the villagers and the local chief. He has also posted a team of Rangers to watch over the gorillas until they go back to the forest.
This nest was found within yards of someone’s house
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