Learn more about books which cover the history of the Budongo Conservation Field Station and the dynamics of the Budongo Forest.
The most authoritative account of the chimpanzees is the 2005 book by Professor Vernon Reynolds:
This book describes the history and dynamics of the Budongo Forest and focuses on the Sonso community of chimpanzees. You can read about their diet, social life and naturally occurring diseases, as well as their ability to self-medicate.
A strong feature of this book is the emphasis on conservation, with descriptions of the main threats to the chimpanzees, notably snares put in the forest by hunters to catch duikers and pigs. The author describes the various ways in which the Budongo Conservation Field Station is trying to combat these threats, and ends with a survey of the conservation situation in Uganda as a whole.
Throughout the book, comparisons are made with studies of chimpanzees in other parts of Africa. There is also a section on the genetics of the Sonso chimpanzees, including information on the reproductive success of males, determined from the genetic paternity of the community's infants.
The above is a link to Vernon Reynolds' book "Back to Budongo".
In the late 1980s Uganda settled down politically and I decided to make a big effort to get back to the Budongo Forest, where Frankie and I had spent the best part of the year 1962 watching the chimpanzees in the forest. No trails in those days and so we had a tough time of it. But ever since I'd been wanting to return, prevented only by the civil wars that ravaged the country from 1971 to 1986. One big spur to action was the news published in 1989 that baby chimps were being caught in Budongo and taken to Entebbe airport for onward shipment to pet collectors and others in richer countries. That had to be stopped.
This book tells the story of how, from scratch, the hunt for funds began, leading eventually to the founding of the Budongo Forest Project, today the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS). I kept a diary from 1989 to 2000, and most of this book is taken directly from that diary. I have added very little, just joining passages to make it flow a bit better. For those who are interested in how BCFS, now a Ugandan NGO, came into existence and took off, this is where to find out.
I had a small number of copies of the book privately printed, but I have given most of them away. Someone suggested I should put it on the web, so here it is. Above all, the book is meant to be enjoyed and I hope reading the diaries won't be too tedious. At the very least, enjoy the photos!
Budongo: A forest and it's chimpanzee - Vernon Reynolds (1965)
The young researcher Vernon Reynolds, together with his wife Frankie, spent most of the year 1962 in the Budongo Forest studying the chimpanzees. This was a first: chimps had not been studied in a forest habitat before. In this book the author describes the day to day efforts they made in the forest, following unhabituated chimpanzees without any trails to guide them, helped only by their faithful tracker Manueri. The book combines both valuable scientific insights and entertaining stories about the life of the Reynoldses in the western Ugandan outback in the year when Uganda became independent.
Methuen, London and Natural History Press, New York.
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