The Role of Folklore in Conservation of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda


Published: 2023-08-29

DOI: 10.56557/jogee/2023/v18i48360

Page: 1-13

Frances Tugumisirize

Nkumba University, P.O. Box 237, Entebbe, Uganda.

Joseph Muyiira

Nkumba University, P.O. Box 237, Entebbe, Uganda.

Alex Barakagira

Nkumba University, P.O. Box 237, Entebbe, Uganda and Kyambogo University, P.O. Box 1, Kampala, Uganda.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This study set out to examine the role of folklore in conservation of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Attention was put on exploring the types of folklore that are available for conservation of mountain gorillas among the communities; and the application of folklore in conservation of mountain gorillas in the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The study involved in seeking an understanding of the people’s interpretations, perceptions, opinions, and ideas concerning the conservation of mountain gorillas. A purely qualitative case study research design was employed to achieve the study objectives.  Purposive sampling techniques were used to select respondents for the study. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions with the respondents were employed to collect the required data. The results confirmed an array of folklores including legends, myths, folkloric names, folk dances and songs, harvesting beliefs, taboos, and totems that were used in the conservation of the mountain gorillas. Folklores also inculcated conservation attitudes and behaviors that concerned some other plants and animals into the members of the local community. The research findings confirmed that folklores can be integrated into community-based conservation programs, conservation policies, resource access programmes, eco-tourism, school curriculum and education and awareness programmes for an effective conservation of important biodiversity including mountain gorillas.

Hence, documentation of folklore, integration of folklore in the National Education Curriculum, involvement of folklore users in the conservation policy making processes, and development of the Uganda national folklore policy are very essential for the continued conservation of the mountain gorillas.

Keywords: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, conservation, folklore, mountain gorilla, Uganda

How to Cite

Tugumisirize, F., Muyiira, J., & Barakagira, A. (2023). The Role of Folklore in Conservation of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Journal of Global Ecology and Environment, 18(4), 1–13.


Download data is not yet available.


International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 2007. IUCN red list of threatened species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. [online] URL:

Amin AJ, Roberts J. Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice. Res Policy. 2008;37(2):353-69.

Kidd C. Living on the Margins of Life: The plight of the Batwa Communities of South-Western Uganda. ACODE Policy Research Series. 2014;17:1-43.

Barakagira A, de Wit AH. The role of wetland management agencies within the local community in the conservation of wetlands in Uganda. Environ Socio Econ Stud. 2019;7(1):59-74.


Barakagira A, de Wit AH. Community livelihood activities as key determinants for community-based conservation of wetlands in Uganda. Environ Socio Econ Stud. 2017;5(1):11-24.


Tumusiime DM, Svarstad H. A local counter-narrative on the conservation of mountain gorillas. Forum Dev Stud. 2011;38(3):239-65.


Saj TL, Mather C, Sicotte P. Traditional taboos in biological conservation: the case of Colobus vellerosus at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Central Ghana; 2016.

James H. Indigenous Knowledge and African Universities: Case Study of South Africa. Johannesburg: University of South Africa; 2017

Mukasa M. The Batwa Indigenous peoples of Uganda and their Traditional Forest Land: From Authoritarianism to Tangible Partnership with Local People: Experiences from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda). Afr Dev. 2014;50(4):36-50.

Tugumisirize F. Grandma, tell me about mountain gorillas. London, UK: Author House; 2020.

Gregory A. The philosophy, and practice, in evaluation of the phenomenological method as a qualitative research method. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 39, pp. 235–260; 2014

Baker J, Brinckerhoff S. Enhancing Equity Within Conservation. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED); 2015.


Saunders M. Qualitative Research Methods. London: Sage Publications;2013.

Myers MD. Qualitative Research in Business & Management. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.; 2008.

Creswell JW. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. London: SAGE; 2014.

Boyd BK. Salamin A. Strategic Reward Systems: A Contingency Model of Pay System Design. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 777-792.; 2001.

Bryman A. Social research methods. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2016.

John C. Conservation and sustainability: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Conserv Biol. 2014;30(7):17-20.

Patton M. Qualitative Evaluation Research Methods, 2nd Ed., London and New Delhi: Sage Publications; 1990

Giorgi A. The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press;2009.

Berg BL. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. 4th ed. London: Pearson Education Company; 2001.

Yin KR. Qualitative research from start to finish. New York: The Guilford Press; 2011.

Sarantakos C. Research Methods: A User-Friendly Guide to mastering Research Techniques and Projects. Oxford: Oxford University press; 2016.

Etiendem DN. Traditional knowledge on cross river gorilla conservation: a case study in the Bechati-Fossimondi-Besali area, south west Cameroon. Thesis. Human Ecology Department, VrijeUniversiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium; 2008.

Begum T. Implementing the international baccalaureate (IB) middle years programme (MYP) in a private school in Pakistan rationale and challenges (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; 2005.

Colding J, Folke C. The relations among threatened species, their protection, and taboos. Conservation Ecology 1: 6. [online]; 1997.

Gregory D. Application of theory of planned behaviour to natural resource management Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2006.

Barakagira A, Ndungo I. Watershed management and climate change adaptation mechanisms used by people living in dryland areas of Lokere catchment in Karamoja, Uganda. Environ Socio Econ Stud. 2023;11(1):45-57.


Ampumuza C, Driessen C. Gorilla habituation and the role of animal agency in conservation and tourism development at Bwindi, South Western Uganda. Environ Plan Nat. 2020:1-21.


Werikhe S. Linking great ape conservation and poverty alleviation in Rwanda Kigali, Publication library; 2016.