Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Run for Nature 2014 - PRESS RELEASE 19th August 2014

Brief History of BFCC
Bugoma Forest Conservation Campaign is a consortium of private sector companies, NGOs and associations sharing the interest to work together for making positive steps in forest conservation in Uganda, particularly targeting the conservation of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (Hoima District).

The current members of the Campaign group are: KUEMA (Kyambogo University Environmental Management Association), Uganda Wildlife Society, Insieme Si Può, Green Organization Africa Ltd., Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Destination Jungle Ltd, Green Bio Energy Ltd, Star-Leo Ltd.

The idea to work together came in February 2014 during a public lecture at Kyambogo University organized by KUEMA, where it was discussed the current status of degradation, illegal logging and deforestation taking place in Bugoma Forest.

Bugoma was rated 12 out of 65 forests surveyed in Uganda for biodiversity importance (Uganda Forest Department, 2002). From a scientific survey carried out in 2010, it is estimated that in Bugoma Forest there are many animals, birds species and plants to be protected and that it is also important because is one of the last remaining forests along the wildlife migratory corridor of the Lake Albert region, between the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (in the North) and the Semliki reserve (in the South). Bugoma counts a record of 267 species of trees, 18 mammals, 278 butterflies. Among the mammals, the primates are abundant, with about 580 chimpanzees, a large number of black and white colobus Ugandan mangabey, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys. The Ugandan mangabey only remains present in Bugoma, as it disappeared from other forests in the region. Among other animals, Bugoma hosts a small population of bush elephants, golden cats, side-striped jackals. There are 221 birds species recorded in Bugoma making the forest a birding sanctuary. Bugoma forest is a huge potential tourist destination along the Rift Valley circuit, yet a forgotten treasure of Uganda.

The official size of the reserve is 41.144 hectares equal to 411 sq km; however the encroachment which took place in Lwempunu sector in 2011 – 2012 resulted into the loss of about 50 sq km and that area was never restocked. Even in recent months the Ugandan newspapers published several articles about the situation of illegal encroachment of the reserve and the illegal logging which takes place, showing images of natural devastation. The National Forestry Authority is putting in place all their resources to combat the situation; however help is needed.
We decided to work together to take an action against all this destruction and because we feel that the private sector and the civil society can play a vital role in helping forest conservation.

Bugoma Forest Conservation Campaign decided to make steps in different directions: promoting awareness about forest conservation with public events; working on research and preparation of a long term conservation project for the forest and the surrounding communities; planning eco-tourism development to improve on conservation and job creation in the area.

For this reason, all members of the consortium are vital and each member contributes with its specialties in making a positive joint effort. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust is bringing its leadership in developing conservation project in forest habitats. Green Bio Energy is contributing with the idea of an alternative source of charcoal to replace traditional charcoal which leads to deforestation. Destination Jungle is promoting the image of Bugoma Forest as a possible potential tourism destination in Uganda. KUEMA is providing the support of a strong membership serving the needs of the organization and they carried out a field survey in Bugoma in April. The analysis of the survey was done in collaboration with Uganda Wildlife Society. “Insieme Si Può” (ISP) is one of the leading Italian NGOs in Uganda with strong interest for the environment, the sustainability and agro-forestry practices. 

Run for Nature 2014
Bugoma Forest Conservation Campaign decided to launch the first edition of Run For Nature, an annual run event having the objective to raise awareness and to fundraise over important aspects of conservation for Bugoma Forest. The first Run For Nature will take place on 7th September 2014 in Kampala, from Kati Kati Restaurant at 7 am. The target is to reach a number of registrations of 1000 people, who can register the 5 km or the 10 km run. The logo of the event represents the closeness between chimpanzees and human beings representing a running chimpanzee and a standing tree.
All the registration fees and donations will be directly invested in the first reforestation exercise of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve after many years in which no such an exercise took place. We intend to invest in reforesting degraded areas by planting indigenous trees and important species which are so much needed by the eco-system, to sustain the chimpanzee population and the other animals. We are targeting to collect an amount of 20.000.000 Ugx.

Registrations are targeting the students of the Universities, who can pay a small fee of 10.000 UGX, the general public who can pay a minimum fee of 20.000 UGX for running or 30.000 UGX for running as donor. Finally the corporate world can support with a minimum contribution of 100.000 UGX for sponsoring the cause.

The promotion of the event will also have a special target in the involvement of the Association of Ugandan Tour Operators and Tour Guides. The Ugandan tour operators and Tour Guides play a role in supporting conservation in Uganda through developing and encouraging eco-tourist activities, whereby tourists can take an activity in nature but with the aim to conserve that nature and at the same time delivering a positive income. We would like to inform the tour operators and Tour Guides about the importance of Bugoma Forest for potential eco-tourism activities; this will help the conservation of the forest in future.

Organization of the event
The logistic organization of the event is done by Activate Uganda (www.activateuganda.com), a leading company in Uganda in providing logistics for sport events. Between today and the 7th September, registration centers for the run are active at the Uganda Society Library thanks to Kuema and at the office of Destination Jungle Pan Africa House. Registration Tables will be organized in Kimathi Avenue at Pan Africa House, at Café Pub in town, at Kyambogo University and at Makerere University. All registration fees and sponsorship are paid to KUEMA.
Activate Uganda will design the route of the run which will be along Lugogo By Pass then Kololo area.

Prizes of the Run
The first prize of the RUN was offered by Wildplaces Uganda and it will be given to the 1st position for male and female in the 10 km Run. The prize consists of 2 nights in Full Board and game drives at Semliki Safari Lodge for 2 people each, a prize worth each  3.570.000 UGX. Thanks to Wildplaces.
The prize for the 5km run is sponsored by one of the organizer, Green Bio Energy and consists of 1 Eco-stove and Briketi 5.5 kg each winner. The Run for Nature intends to sensitize the people of Uganda about the importance of using alternative source of fuel, like Briketi, which is made with recycled materials and banana fibers. The production of traditional charcoal is actually one of the main causes of deforestation in Uganda and in Bugoma Forest specifically.
Other cash prizes will be supplementing the main prices.

Special Thanks to
We would like to extend our thanks to the following organizations for their support to the event:
-The National Forestry Authority for the patronage of the event and for helping in the reforestation project.
-Café Pub, which offered to host our registration tables
-Wildplaces for the support and contributing to the prizes
-SVI (Italian Cooperation) for the support;
-Business Club Italia (BCI) and particularly the Chairman Ing. Giorgio Petrangeli of Sobetra and the companies Draco, Stirling and Italaluminium for the support;
-The Uganda Breweries for helping with cartons of water;
-Pepsi Cola for offering cartons of soda during the event and some tents.
-The Association of Uganda tour operators (AUTO) for the promotion of the event among all the members.

Costantino Tessarin
Coordinator of Bugoma Forest Conservation Campaign
Director of Destination Jungle
Tel: +256701385446
E-mail: d.jungle@safaritoeastafrica.com

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