Today, Friday Oct 29th, we welcomed Nelson Guma, the new Chief Warden for Bwindi and Mgahinga, to ITFC. In a morning program full of presentations and discussion, ITFC staff interacted with him, the Warden Research and Monitoring -Jennifer Atuhairwe- and head ranger Deus Tugumisirize.
We briefed them on ongoing research. Nelson listened intently and asked insightful and sometimes challenging questions, like “What processes are in place to assure that your research projects address questions that are relevant for UWA?”, ‘How can we make monitoring (e.g. of resource offtake) easier and community-led, and ensure that results inform decisions?”, “Couldn’t we also investigate the cultural values that people recognise in Bwindi and make it part of the Multiple Use program?”, “Can we understand better why gorillas are coming out of the park and raid crops?” etc.
We, ITFC, appreciate that the new Chief visit in his first busy weeks of duty! Arriving from his last station, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, he should have no problem with Bwindi’s altitude and slopes! It is clear that we have in Nelson a man who is keen that we collaborate closely together to address real challenges. We wish him all the best in managing this beautiful World Heritage site and look forward to working with him and his staff!