Researchers across the spectrum converged in Bwindi’s Buhoma park headquarters for a researchers’ symposium. The symposium jointly organized by UWA (BMCA) and ITFC (Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation) had varied number of researchers in numerous discipline discuss research papers and contribute to the addition to the body of knowledge on the eco system of Bwindi. This is often a time to show case research carried out across the conservation area and also give room for participants to appreciate the researcher’s works and critic it at the same time.
In his opening remarks, the Conservation Area Manager Mr. Pontious Ezuma observed that despite BMCA being very key in the general organization and arrangement of the annual event; it was only the first time Buhoma where the park headquarters are based was hosting it. He thanked all researchers for committing time and resources to extensively enrich the existing information about Bwindi eco system for management to make informed decisions and actions. He argued them to continue to build this body of knowledge that will definitely culminate into management making good informed decisions issues pertaining the Bwindi base on their work. He therefore encouraged researchers to share this information with management.
The annual event kicked off with guest having a feel of the BMCA research priorities through the eyes of management as presented by the department of Ecological monitoring and shortly after a short presentation from the Great Virunga Trans-boundary Core secretariat’s Teddy Musabe on the its role and the various partnerships around it.
Other varying issues discussed were the chilli growing as a problem animal intervention as well as evaluation of Human Wildlife Conflict prevention strategies. However, particularly of concern was the discussion on Spatial and temporarily patterns of habitat utilization in Bwindi Mountain gorillas.
The discussion brought to life the revelation of gorilla ranging zones visa vie viability of food. The discussion lead by the Phd. Student researcher Nicole Seiler brought to light the old topical discussion of the necessity of habitat manipulation. According to her preliminary finding, the Bwindi habitat food is very much in abundance around the mountainous region of Bwindi where half the world’s mountain gorillas are situated. Their ranging therefore is not hugely affected by the food shortage with in the park rather other factors do contribute.
This research study is being undertaken in Ruhija, Buhoma and parts of Rushaga. Many other wide ranging topics were discussed and debated in a lively manner that engaged the participants in the symposium the entire day.