Road impact in a protected area with rich biodiversity: the case of the Sebitoli road in Kibale National Park, Uganda.
- Human Biomonitoring Research Unit
While road network expansion is crucial for economic development, it can cause a notable disturbance of fauna, especially in protected area in terms of habitat fragmentation, risk of collision, and also indirect threat such as pollution. In this study, we monitored the 4.6-km long tarmac road crossing the Kibale National Park in Uganda, home to a rich variety of wild species including the endangered chimpanzees. We evaluated the effects of collisions and pollution, as well as the impact of the renovation process in terms of disturbance and the mitigation measures deployed. This survey reports the death of 24 wild animals killed by cars, including two chimpanzees. The atmospheric concentrations of O3, NO2, SO2, and BTEX did not exceed recommended limits. More than 5000 plastic bottles were collected along the road within 4 months, and for the first time, the presence of BPA and BPS was detected in the hairs of wild chimpanzees. The road bisecting the Kibale National Park poses a high danger in terms of traffic and an underestimated risk related to plastic pollution. Measures (signpost, speed bumps) should be urgently deployed to decrease the risk posed by the renovated road for emblematic species such as chimpanzees, which are crucial for tourism and economy in Uganda.