Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary seeks government intervention to help it run the businesses after its sources of income were heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the board chair chimpanzee trust, Dr James Musinguzi, the issue of sustainability of Ngamba Island is critical to the conservation and tourism fraternity as well as the government because it plays a big role in promoting Uganda’s tourism.
“As we re-open the sanctuary on October 1, we have had to reduce on the number of visitors to adhere to the standard protocols. This implies that the funds received from these visitors will not be enough to sustain the sanctuary, so we need government intervention for sustainable financing,” he said.
Dr Musinguzi revealed that efforts are underway to make sure that Ngamba Island is mainstreamed in the budget framework paper of government.
“We are in discussions with the government through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, to look at the current legal framework of Ngamba Island because right now the sanctuary operates as an NGO. We need the legal status to change to enable the sanctuary mainstreamed in budget framework paper,” he said. Advertisement
The Executive Director of the sanctuary, Dr Joshua Rukundo, said they are ready to start operating after putting in place the equipment to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
He revealed that they have put in place the non-contact infra-red thermometers on all boats, all payments for trips to Ngamba will be cashless in addition to mandatory hand washing/sanitizing at the entrances.
“Before the pandemic, the sanctuary used to handle about 120 tourists a day, but this time only 30 visitors will be allowed in as we observe social distancing guideline at the island. Our boats now will carry eight passengers per trip instead of the usual 16,” Dr Rukundo said.
He also appealed to the well-wishers to continue supporting them since the number of tourists has been cut.
Dr Rukundo further noted that the sanctuary was hit by floods due to rising water levels, which has now receded.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria in Koome Island in Mukono District is home to 50 chimpanzees.
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