“Leopard Village”: Community Ecotourism & Resource Center in Muhokya

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Updates from the Field

Saturday
Nov102012

Student performances in Kahendero

As part of our conservation outreach programs in the village schools, the students have been preparing poems and dances.  We were very impressed with their performances yesterday!

Friday
Nov092012

Inspecting a site for the Muhokya Community Center!

Earlier today, we visited a potential site in Muhokya for the Community Center.  The community has been working hard to organize themselves for this venture, which is being made possible with the help of the docents of the Oakland Zoo in California.  Lots of work ahead! And today was an important start.

 

Saturday
Nov032012

California fundraiser for Muhokya Community Education Center

Tonight, the Docents of the Oakland Zoo, in Oakland, California, held “Beer for Beasts” - a fundraiser for the future Community Education Center to be located in Muhokya.  More than 100 people from the San Francisco Bay Area community showed their support of our conservation work with the communities in Uganda by donating, attending the event, and buying raffle tickets.  Monica spent a few minutes at the beginning of the night sharing the story of the people and wildlife of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  The event was a huge success!  Now our efforts turn to working with the local community in Uganda!

Wednesday
Oct102012

Community Attitudes Survey

We have commenced our first survey of community attitudes in the villages of Muhokya and Kahendero!  Designed by Monica, with input and review by Dr. Siefert and Peregrine, our goal is to use the information from this survey to target our conservation education outreach activities.  We will also use it as a baseline of community attitudes so that conservation program effectiveness can be measured over time.  James and Olivia have spent a lot of time interviewing the community members.  We thank the village leaders and community members themselves for their cooperation and support of this initiative and we are excited about our future collaborations with them on reducing human-wildlife conflict.

 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Conservation education in Kahendero and Muhokya primary schools

We held conservation education outreach sessions at primary schools in Kahendero and Muhokya today.  An UWA community ranger came along with us, as did our intern Olivia Atuhaire who did a great job in translating some of the lecture about lions.  James said the students paid a lot of attention and were eager to learn.  He also said they asked many questions concerning the lecture and about wildlife in general.

Thursday
Aug302012

Large pride of lions

A nice big pride of lions were seen together today.  A pride is comprised of a breeding male coalition + several female groups.  Female group members are closely related but often split and re-unite (fission-fusion groups), so they are not always seen together.  Unrelated female groups do not usually mix.

Today's pride was comprised of several of the lions we monitor: lioness Lena, Lena's 3 cubs, Lena's adult daugher, lioness Bridget and her 3 young sons, and lion Papa, who is part of the coalition of 3 males in this area of the park.  Always nice to see!

 

Thursday
Jul192012

Finally caught a glimpse of leopardess Kim's cub

James took a group of tourists out this morning in search of leopardess Kim, who is one of the carnivores we monitor.  James was finally able to catch a glipse of her ~one-year-old male cub, as the cub rushed into a nearby thicket.  Kim was nearby up in an acacia tree.

Here is our first picture of Kim's cub:

Sunday
Jul152012

Community Workshop

Today, Dr. Siefert, James, and Monica held a community workshop in Kasese, which was attended by eleven leaders from the Queen Elizabeth area.  The goal was to have an open discussion on the problems the local communities face with wildlife and to design a plan on how to collaborate in the future.  We had representation from the villages of Katwe, Nyakatonzi, Muhokya, Kilembe, Kabukyero, and Hamukungu.  We also had a wide representation of livelihoods, including pastoralists, farmers, teachers, students, businessmen, and a member of the local Women’s League. 

Over the course of four hours, we exchanged the challenges and opportunities each of us faces and also our hopes for the future.  We left with a strong plan on how to move forward…together! 

Saturday
Apr142012

Mr. Grey & Twin eat a warthog!

Not exactly "breaking news", but it is good news.  Since they were pushed out of their territory near the Ugandan kob fields by The Coalition of Three, there has been concern that Mr. Grey and Twin may prey on some of the village of Katanguru's goats, who often stray into the park where they are now.  

Preying on livestock put lions at risk of retaliatory killing - cattle owners will sometimes lace the livestock carcasses with poison, which results in the lions death if/when they return to feed on it.  When we come upon a livestock carcass, we will attempt to retrieve it and dispose of it safely away from the predators in order to try to avoid this situation.

Monday
Apr092012

Anna and pride not seen recently

We have been searching for Anna and the rest of her pride for several days but have been unable to locate them.  We are not able to get a signal from Anna's radio collar. We have been scanning the entire northern area from the highest possible points of the crater lakes. Normally, a signal from a radio collar will become weak gradually, instead of disappearing suddenly, which is not usually a good sign in an area where lions have been poisoned in the past.