In the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda, fruit production by forest trees is mysteriously declining. As a result, chimps and other primates are raiding local subsistence farms. Dr. Fred Babweteera of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, along with graduate students from Makerere University, Kampala, is studying the foraging habits of primates and the fruiting cycles of fruit trees with the goal of developing new approaches to sharing resources between people and primates—and they need your help.
On this expedition you’ll have a unique opportunity to meet our closest relatives in their natural habitat. About 700 chimpanzees live in the Budongo Forest Reserve, the largest remaining tropical rainforest in East Africa. In addition, there are four other major primate species in the Budongo Forest. You’ll team up with field assistants at the Budongo Conservation Field Station to observe chimps and other primates as they forage for food in the morning and late afternoon. You’ll learn to identify local trees and work alongside researchers to monitor trees, as well as assess the phenology (timing) of their flowering and fruiting. You’ll also help assess how changes in food availability affects local bird populations by setting up mist nets and assisting in banding forest birds. Back at the research camp, you’ll help write up the data, relax, enjoy sports with members of the Reserve staff, or walk the “Royal Mile” to take in the natural beauty of the rainforest.