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Rupert Shanks, Jocelyn Cox, Rory Trust and Rory Maclean, filmmakers from The Guardian Newspaper in the UK, travelled to Uganda to film a documentary about the life of the Batwa tribe after they were evicted from the forest to protect the mountain gorillas.
“The Batwa tribe have shared the forests of Uganda with mountain gorillas for millennia. In Uganda, gazetting of these forests has seen tourism boom and gorilla numbers rise, but at great cost to the Batwa. Forcibly evicted from their home without compensation or land, they face a desperate struggle for survival.”
The Batwa, thought to be one of the oldest surviving people in Central Africa, were traditionally forest dwellers; surviving by hunting, gathering and seeking shelter in caves and temporary huts made of leaves and branches. In 1992, the national parks were created and announced as a World Heritage Site in order to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.
The Batwa were evicted from their ancestral home without compensation or right to land ownership. Today, the Batwa community are still largely landless and struggle to fit into the local communities, earn a living and maintain their cultural beliefs outside of the forest.
The documentary features our founder, Praveen Moman, who talks about kinship with humanity instead of ‘luxury’ and how tourism should strengthen these bonds, striking a perfect balance between humans and wildlife.
Follow this link to watch the full documentary; http://www.theguardian.com/travel/video/2015/jun/11/batwa-people-virunga-under-threat-video
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.