The Ugandan government has promised to investigate the threat to Kafuga Pocket Forest following the launch of a campaign last October by ITF partner the Pro Biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICOU).
A group of more than 250 tea growers want to clear fell the Kafuga Pocket Forest, a remnant of rainforest on the fringes of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The plan is allegedly backed by some local government officials and the Kigezi Highland Tea Company – and some tea growers have already bought axes in preparation for felling trees.
Bwindi is home to 400 of the world’s remaining 880 mountain gorillas and Kafuga is part of a vital buffer zone between the gorillas and the surrounding human population. If it is cleared, experts fear the criticially-endangered gorillas could be pushed a step closer towards extinction.
The forest is also an important natural resource for local villagers in one of the most economically-deprived areas of East Africa.
A petition launched by PROBICOU – and supported by ITF, Rainforest Rescue, Greenpeace Africa and the UK Green Party – has raised more than 150,000 signatures from concerned citizens in Uganda and around the world.
You can help stop this environmental vandalism by supporting PROBICOU’s efforts to persuade the authorities that we must conserve this valuable remnant of ancient forest.
PROBICOU are in the process of holding a series of meetings with villagers living around Kafuga to build support for their campaign. Their vision is to conserve and enhance the forest as a natural resource and eco-tourist destination for the benefit of wildlife and local people. One of the first priorities is to map out and clearly mark the forest boundaries.
But to achieve these aims they urgently need your help. Support PROBICOU’S campaign!
The #SaveKafugaForest campaign has featured in the Ecologist and the Daily Express. In March PROBICOU Programme Director, Robert Tumwesigye Baganda, presented the petition to the Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment, calling for his intervention. The Minister has responded by promising to send a task force to Kafuga, in the Kisoro District of South West Uganda.