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 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.
We welcome scientists and students from any institution to be part of this research programme or to contribute to our community conservation activities by working with the 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, farm income generating activities that minimise dependence on forest resources, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts and bush meat hunting.
In 2007 BCFS became a Ugandan NGO. It is now recognised as a part of the conservation structure of Uganda, with institutional links to Makerere University (via the Faculty of Forestry and the College of Veterinary Medicine), the National Council for Science and Technology, and the National Forest Authority. We are all proud to have become an official Ugandan institution and our strategic objectives are continually extending into further outreach activities. At the same time we host many researchers and volunteers from other countries and receive funding from overseas.
Due to our links with Makerere University, BCFS offers hospitality to up to a hundred students for an annual Forestry training programme. Our facilities are also available for research students from Makerere and other Ugandan universities to undertake dissertation or Ph.D projects.
In 2011 BCFS opened its refurbished and purpose-equipped Veterinary Centre. Following a conference of all Ugandan chimpanzee field sites, and other wildlife organisations, it was recognised as the National Chimpanzee Veterinary Facility for Uganda. Further details of this centre can be found under Camp Facilities, Veterinary Centre.
Another new development in recent years has been the decision to habituate a second chimpanzee community, northern neighbours of our familiar Sonso community. The habituation has gone well with field staff and volunteers co-operating under the direction of Dr Catherine Hobaiter. The addition of the Waibira community enables interesting comparative studies to be made.
Since 2013, BCFS has been host to a series of visits by volunteer workers from Earthwatch. These visits are mutually beneficial: Earthwatch visitors learn about rainforest ecology, 1assist with current projects and enjoy the unique experience of observing wild primates; and BCFS receives extra funding for its work. We hope this successful collaboration will continue into the future.
The work of BCFS depends of course on funding from outside sources. We are fortunate to receive regular funds from the RZSS (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) for our core operations of running the field station, maintaining the vehicles, and paying staff salaries. The Arcus Foundation provided assistance to develop our veterinary facilities. Oakland Zoo funds our snare removal and community education programmes. Our primate research is made possible by grants from the BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Fyssen Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation, European Research Council, and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. And we receive funds from Earthwatch (see above). To all these bodies we extend our grateful thanks.
Dr. Fred Babweteera
(RZSS Africa Coordinator).
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Chimpanzee photos by Florian Moellers