Welfare of individual chimpanzees both in the wild and in captivity is one of the Jane Goodall Institute’s major concerns worldwide. In Uganda, the major welfare issues are dealing with isolated, fragmented populations of chimpanzees who come into conflict with local people, chimpanzees caught in traps and snares, and chimpanzees taken from the wild by poachers/hunters.
Currently, care of chimpanzees in captivity is handled by the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe and Chimpanzee Trust (CT) at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
With these organizations now capably handling captive care issues, JGI’s main concern is the welfare issues of wild chimpanzees. One important aspect that affects chimpanzee welfare is the activity of hunters in the various forests. These hunters use snares and “man traps” with the objective of catching species such as wild pigs, duikers and other ungulates. However, since these traps are not selective, non-target species such as chimpanzees often get caught.
It has been estimated that over 25% of the wild population of chimpanzees in Uganda are afflicted with permanent injuries caused by snares.
JGI in Uganda works through a framework that unifies a national partnership among researchers, private sector, NGOs and government agencies that can collaborate in the long term monitoring of the health status of the great ape populations, and where necessary, intervention to ameliorate suffering and pain. Such partnerships help maintain a healthy population of great apes and minimize health risks.