ECOLIFE Foundation has been collaborating with Conservation Through Public Health for the last six months. At the CTPH field station in Bwindi, Uganda we have created an Aquaponics system right next to the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
CTPH Staff participating in the building of the acquaponics project in Bwindi
Aquaponics is the symbiotic growing of plants and aquatic animals in a re-circulating environment. It combines vegetable and fish farming. Water is cycled with a water pump run by solar electricity between fish tanks and vegetable growing areas. Fish waste acts as a natural fertilizer for the crops. Plants and beneficial bacteria scrub ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds from the water, making it safe for the fish.The CTPH Aquaponics system will serve as a self-sustaining prototype and model to aid capacity building in the region. As Aquaponics provides an easily manageable means of producing additional sources of income and protein, and systems can be reproduced in all shapes and sizes, we hope these will be replicated throughout the district. In additional to increasing income and protein, it also reduces the human impact on our environment. Aquaponics lessens pressure on wildlife, whether it be the bush meat trade or over-fishing, it also replicates natural systems such as lakes and rivers, creating a near zero impact method of food production. It uses no soil for growing and once the initial building is done the only input is food for the fish.
Replicating the model to Uganda
For more information on Aquaponics please visit: www.ECOLIFEFOUNDATION.org
By Agaba Hillary Kumanya
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), a UNESCO world heritage site in south-western Uganda is habitat to an estimated half of the world’s population of the critically endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) with cross species disease transmission between gorillas, people and livestock being one of the most significant threats.
A livestock farm set right away at the forest edge.
Around BINP is one of the highest human population densities in Africa. Consequently, there is 1) increased sharing of natural resources including land and water between mountain gorillas, livestock and humans, and 2) a hard edge between the park boundary and the community with animals often grazed to the edge of the park. Inevitably, implications in terms of disease transmission for the rich biodiversity of BINP and to public health for the local communities exist.
Human public health interventions around Bwindi have been enormous but there has been some disregard to livestock health.
Nevertheless, the importance of livestock health to mountain gorilla conservation and public health around Bwindi is clear – for example the presence of pathogens, such as Cryptosporidia and Giardia in livestock as well as in humans and mountain gorillas recognizes and calls for the “One Health” approach. Livestock as a major livelihood source can also impact significantly on natural resource conservation.
Sedentary and communal livestock keeping common around Bwindi may spread livestock diseases
This project supported by Cleveland Zoo, USA seeks to generate information and effective strategies for improving local community livestock husbandry practices that enable risk reduction of disease spread between livestock and gorillas and people.
- Hazy picture taken at a range of a livestock kraal in a valley bottom that may be a source of water and environmental contamination
There is a great need to establish sustainable and financially viable environmentally friendly herd health programs around BINP and to address several issues regarding livestock health such as setting up water quality protection, prevention and control of chronic zoonotic diseases such as TB and brucellosis, and understanding current livestock keeping practices around BINP, which will help design and advance conservation and environmentally sustainable livestock husbandry practices.
The outcomes will enable Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) to design strategies for educating and sensitizing local communities. CTPH, a US registered charity and Ugandan NGO, is promoting gorilla conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to co-exist through improving primary health care to people and animals in and around Africa’s protected areas.
- Most lands immediate to the park are used for grazing and pasture
CTPH founder and CEO Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and her wildlife-loving son Ndhego admiring the picturesque Kyambura Gorge where at least 15 of the 83 Hippos are reported to have died of Anthrax in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.
CTPH is part of the National Task Force that is battling the Anthrax outbreak.
Hi everyone, this is Lawrence writing – I’ve just figured out how to embed this video which we at CTPH are so proud about. Enjoy -Please join us in congratulating Gladys who has dedicated her life to saving Uganda’s endangered mountain gorillas. Leave comment and feel free to make a donation to this wonderful project.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/8tDRbZ80OAY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
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