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Kibale National Park

Uganda Travel / Kibale National Park

KIBALE NATIONAL PARK

Kibale National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
The Ugandan Red Colobus is one of 13 primate species found in Kibale
Location of Kibale National Park
Location  Uganda
Nearest city Fort Portal
Coordinates 00°30′N 30°24′ECoordinates: 00°30′N 30°24′E
Area 776 km2 (300 sq mi)
Established 1993
Governing body Ugandan Wildlife Authority

 

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is a national park in southern Uganda, protecting moist evergreen rain forest. It is 766 square kilometres (296 sq mi) in size and is located between 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) in elevation. Despite encompassing primarily moist evergreen forest, it contains a diverse array of landscapes. Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. This adjoining of the parks creates a 180 kilometres (110 mi) wildlife corridor. It is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other species of primates. It is also the location of the Makerere University Biological Field Station.

Locals and the park

Two major tribes, the Batooro and Bakiga, inhabit the area around the park. They use the park for food, fuel, and other resources with the help of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.In the last century, the population around the park has increased by sevenfold. This is speculated to be because the park directly brings in revenue for those living around it and the tourism industry creates jobs. In addition, many farmers believe that the soil is better for growing crops year round. This increase in the population has caused the area around the park to be divided and developed or turned into plantations and farmland, and demand for firewood asserts pressure on the park’s wildlife habitat. Organizations like the New Nature Foundation are working to restore harmony to the people-park relationship by empowering local citizens to meet their needs in sustainable ways. Cutting trees for fuel has already strained many of the forest areas outside Kibale.

uganda travel Kibale national park

Fauna

Chimpanzee eating figs in Kibale National Park

There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae), the Ugandan red colobus (Procolobus tephrosceles) and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza) and the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis).The park’s population of elephants travels between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, common warthogs, and African buffalo. The carnivores that are present include leopards, African golden cats, servals, different mongooses and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park on occasion.

Habituated Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park

Bird life is also prolific. The park boasts 325 sited species of birds, including the olive long-tailed cuckoo, western tinkerbird, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted) and the grey parrot. The ground thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park.

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