Uganda may be well know for things like gorillas and other attractions but they ahve more to offer especially in the primate world. Habituated chimpanzees can be seen in Uganda at five locations – Budongo Forest, Kibale Forest, Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu Forest.
Habituation simply means making them used to having humans around them. some one would as if there are some that are not habituated? Yes, there are alot of them in the wild still living like savages and with time the Uganda wildlife authority hopes to habituate them as the process is continuous.
Having groups of habituated chimps that can be visited by tourist is a very important factor for their conservation. The money people spend on buying chimp permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority goes straight into the conservation effort.
Although habituated chimpanzees are used to the presence of humans, ever effort is still made to have minimal impact on their stress levels. This means that, just like tracking gorillas, certain rules have to be followed:
- 8 visitors per group per day. This ensures, that the amount of stress the group is exposed to due to the intrusion into their environment is kept at a minimum and that the risk of contagion due to human-borne diseases is lowered.
- Do not approach closer than the minimum distance of 7 meters / 21 feet from the chimpanzees. This is to control disease transmission and to not aggravate the animals.
- Do not touch! Should it happen that you come to within touching range of a chimpanzee, do not follow temptation to do so. Always remember that these are wild animals and many times stronger than you.
- Do not feed! This applies to any animal living in the wild.
- Do not smoke, eat or drink while with the chimps. Eating or drinking can lead to disease transmission through the dropping of morsels of food or droplets.
- No flash photography. The flash of a camera irritates the animals and causes stress.
- Do not litter. This should be common sense, but please take extra care in the park.
- Keep your voice low. While within hearing range from the gorillas, please do not shout, laugh or raise your voice in any way in order to not stress the animals.
- Wash your hands before heading out to track the chimps.