The Museum

Our Museum is an ongoing collection of natural history items found or collected by visitors and workers at the project. The collection complements the herbarium and seed collection.

The collection

Items on display in the museum include a variety of mammal skulls, two chimpanzee skeletons and a selection of ‘wet’ specimens, preserved in formalin.

Bones and Skulls

One of the two chimpanzee skeletons is that of Magosi, around 40 years old when he died. Magosi had been the alpha male in the Sonso community prior to 1995, when Duane took his place.

The left scapula (shoulder-blade) shows signs of weakening (a hole through the bone) and the middle finger of the right hand shows substantial damage to the joint.

The other chimpanzee skeleton is that of Zesta, a young (about 15yrs) male who was killed in 1998 by other male chimps in the community. Zesta’s skeleton showed a bony growth on the right femur (upper leg bone). Details of the attack on Zesta are provided in an article by Katie Fawcett & Geresomu Muhumuza (2000), a copy of which is in the Library.

The museum also contains two complete skeletons of the tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus). These await an expert to assemble them and are still in boxes!

On the bone shelf, there are a variety of skulls. These include skulls of two bushpigs (Potamochoerus porcus) . There is also a skull of a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), which may be that of the male chimpanzee Chris, who went missing shortly before the skull was found. There is also a selection of small skulls, including the skull and cervical vertebrae (neck bones) of a tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus), and a number of as-yet-unidentified skulls. One of the mystery items on the bone shelf is the pelvis of an unknown animal. This animal had a fused pelvis - a single bone that fits above both legs. If you know which animal this bone might come from, please let us know!

Wet (preserved) Specimens

In the formalin collection there are several snakes collected from Budongo. Many of these are dangerously poisonous - Jameson’s Mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni), for example. Others, such as the African python (Python sebae) are non-poisonous and harmless to man, although they can grow to rather alarming sizes!

Elsewhere in the formalin collection is an infant chimp, as well as the head and arm of another young chimp killed by two adult male chimps in the group (Vernon and Duane) in 1995. Finally, there is a half-eaten blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni), killed and eaten by the chimps.

Miscellaneous Collection

This contains specimens that do not fit easily into the other museum categories.

Hanging against the wall are a collection of bird nests. Particularly impressive are the weaver bird nests, with their variety of entrance holes and tunnels.

In the smaller boxes are a selection of insects, as well as a baby bat, probably of the species Pipistrellus nanus (the Pipistrelle or Banana bat). An adult bat of the same species is also on display.

In the same collection is a swallow (unknown species) with a leg ring marked “Finland”, showing that this individual was captured, marked and released in Finland. This bird then flew several thousand miles, migrating to Uganda when the weather in Finland became too cold during the winter. Had it not died, it would have returned to Finland around April of the following year.

The miscellaneous collection also contains the shells of two African Land Tortoises (Geochelone pardalis). These are widespread throughout Africa, including Budongo, although they are rarely seen. The two specimens displayed here are quite small - they can grow to two or three times as large.

The display cases contain a collection of butterflies, a collection of small mammals, and a fine specimen of the spiny-tailed flying squirrel (Anomalurus fraseri).

Wooden lids prevent the specimens from being damaged by sunlight and protect their colour.

History Of Budongo

The BCFS was founded by Dr Vernon Reynolds in 1990. At that time it was called the Budongo Forest Project.

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Where is Budongo

The Budongo Forest is a moist, semi-deciduous tropical rain forest located at the top of the Albertine Rift in Uganda.

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