Kahangi Village Conservation Program

Human-wildlife conflict is prevalent in Kahangi village. Kahangi village is in what is called a buffer zone or wildlife management area north of Kibale National Park near Fort Portal town in western Uganda. Because there are no fences around Ugandan parks, this area is where wildlife and humans often converge. Conflicts between them are common.

Elephants, chimpanzees, baboons, and monkeys were fairly regular visitors in the Kahangi community, lured by water, bananas, maize, and other food crops which are grown in the area by the villagers. These wildlife caused intensive crop damage and frequently attacked both humans and their cattle. This understandably made the villagers less tolerant of wildlife. They often resorted to poisoning them. There was little incentive to look after the wildlife because community members did not financially benefit from the tourism business wildlife attracts. And their means of livelihood was being undermined by that same wildlife.

At the beginning of 2017, Justice Tourism Foundation started working with the villagers of Kahangi to implement practical solutions to the challenge of human-wildlife conflict. We started by conducting a feasibility study to better understand the causes of human-wildlife conflict and its underlying effects on both the communities and the wildlife. We mobilised local communities and organised meetings with them on a number of occasions in order to get their views and involve them in decision making for solutions.

Through our feasibility study, we found that besides the human-wildlife conflict, Kahangi village also was faced with other very serious challenges including extreme poverty, malnutrition, limited educational opportunities, and disease such as HIV/AIDS and bilharzia.