Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS)
The BCFS was founded by Dr Vernon Reynolds in 1990 and was initially called the Budongo Forest Project. Dr Reynolds first studied chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in 1962 and wrote a book about the forest and its chimpanzees (Reynolds 1965). During the 1970s and 1980s two major civil wars raged in Uganda, and a complete breakdown of law and order across the country ensued. In 1988 Dr Reynolds read a report in the New Vision, the main Ugandan newspaper, that infant chimpanzees were being captured in Budongo Forest, taken to Entebbe airport, and smuggled out to wealthy pet-owners in Dubai and elsewhere. After a year of seeking funds he returned to Uganda in March 1990, and together with Chris Bakuneeta, who had recently obtained an MSc in Forestry at Makerere University, established a base at Budongo from which to discover whether there were still chimpanzees in the forest.
Since its inception, Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) has blended research and conservation to ensure sustainable management and utilisation of the Budongo Forest Reserve as a model for tropical rain forest management. In its new strategic plan BCFS is aiming to continue generating world-class scientific research on primates as well as diversifying its research programme to encompass other biological taxa, and to use this information to support policy development, conservation action and sustainable resource management.
Among the conservation activities currently undertaken are
- environmental education for adults and school children.
- farm income generating activities that minimise dependence on forest resources.
- mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts and bush meat hunting.
- strengthening its community conservation programme by working with forest edge communities on projects aimed at improving their livelihoods while conserving the forest resource base.