Conflicts

Wherever gorillas occur, human settlements are usually not far away: over recent decades, the human populations have gone up a lot and they occupy ever more of the forested areas, however remote. For this reason, cases where the interests of gorillas and those of people clash are more and more frequent.

WHY ARE THERE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST BETWEEN PEOPLE AND GORILLAS?

If a forest is logged, the animals may fail to find enough food and so help themselves from the farmers' fields. The farmers defend themselves against the destruction of their livelihood by trying to chase away the plunderers, occasionally killing gorillas in the process. Animals that are used to people are more likely to penetrate into the vicinity of human settlements and are therefore particularly at risk.

HOW CAN THESE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST BE SOLVED?

In the densely populated areas near the habitats of the mountain gorillas, committees have been formed to demonstrate to the farmers how they can chase off the gorillas without hurting them. This model has been so successful that other areas have also adopted it. In addition, many projects train teachers to help them develop children's awareness of the local fauna in school and teach them to build a good relationship with their environment.


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Getting ready to start the vegetation sampling outside Bwindi with the vegetation team (Philemon Tumwesigye, Christopher Byaruhanga, Emmanuel Tibenda and Nicole Seiler) (© Nicole Seiler)

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Map of the Sarambwe Reserve with places mentioned in the article (© Angela Meder, adapted from a map by WWF/PeVi)

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© Denis Ndeloh

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The Mwami (traditional chief) in front of the community meeting house (© Carlos Schuler)

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HuGo in Uganda

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The Kahuzi-Biega National Park 1995