Heifer projects often benefit the environment around them in unexpected ways. A recent article featured in environmental magazine Mongabay.com reveals how Heifer’s work is helping to lessen deforestation in some of Uganda’s chimpanzee habitats.
More than 5,000 endangered chimpanzees live in the forests along Uganda’s Kafu River. Between the years 2001 and 2013, approximately 42,000 acres of forest were cut down or burned. This loss was due, in part, to unregulated forest clearance by local farmers.
According to the article "as forests are fragmented by clearing, chimp populations become more isolated from one another." This isolation can cause chimpanzees to inbreed or to stop reproducing. Wildlife conservation groups like the Jane Goodall institute and The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust have started initiatives to reforest and reconnect these fragmented habitats and link isolated populations of chimpanzees.
Additionally, these two organizations have partnered with Heifer International to encourage farmers to plant trees along the river banks of their land—essentially replanting these chimps' natural habitat.
Farmers who agree to re-forest part of their farmland recieve a high-quality goat or pig from Heifer Uganda. Additionally, the farmers will receive training on sustainable farming that will enable them to improve their crop yields while caring for the chimpanzee habitat around them.
Jump over to the full story and for some great photos of the chimps this partnership is helping.