As various tourists head to southwestern Uganda on wild expeditions to encounter the rare mountain gorillas, one usually wonders how these very endangered primates will thrive amidst the increased deforestation and global warming that has a great negative impact on the habitants of the mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are the largest apes that prefer living in the forested mountains and only remaining in the forested jungles of southwestern Uganda and in the Virunga volcanoes area that stretches from northwestern Rwanda, southwestern Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mountain gorilla population has over the years been threatened by poaching, diseases and habitant loss, as there are several cases of deforestation. The mountain gorilla population in the early 1990’s had greatly reduced because of the civil wars that were going on in the region however over the past years, the Wildlife organizations of Uganda and Rwanda have been working closely to ensure a long survival of mountain gorillas.
Protection and conservation of mountain gorilla habitant has been done through a number of conservation programs like resettling the Batwa pygmies from the forests to reduce on the cases of gorilla habitant encroachment, the mountain gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda held every year where newly born mountain gorillas are given names and monitored closely, regulating the number of tourists tracking the gorillas to 8 a day and spending only one hour with them. There were many mountain gorilla tracking guidelines that were put in place and strictly enforced for all visitors going for gorilla tours so as to safe guard the well being of the mountain gorillas and with all such efforts the mountain gorilla population has drastically increased and is expected to increase more in the coming years.
Mountain gorillas are the largest apes that pr
Today, the mountain gorilla population is estimated at 900 with about 450 inhabiting the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and the rest shared among volcanoes national park in northwestern Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla Park in southwestern Uganda and Virunga national park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
All these national parks have habituated mountain gorilla families that are open to tourist visitation however only 8 tourists are allowed. Tracking mountain gorilla’s starts very early in the morning taking about 1 to 8 hours. On getting to the gorillas, tourists are given a time allocation of 1 full hour to take photographs and learn more about the gorillas.
In the Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the mountain gorilla habituation experience has been recently introduced. This experience has taken mountain gorilla safaris to another level by giving tourists a chance to spend 4 full hours with the mountain gorillas in the process of making the mountain gorillas get used to the presence of tourists in their habitants. There are currently 2 gorilla families in the Rushaga sector that are open for the gorilla habituation experience. The hike also starts with orientation and then the hike to the forests in search of the great apes. The mountain gorilla habituation experience tickets are sold at $1500 and can be got directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator.
Much as mountain gorillas are endangered, their future is still very bright because as tourists trek the jungles in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC, they greatly appreciate nature, get to understand more about the ways of life of the mountain gorillas, which makes them to also start spreading the mountain gorilla conservation message.
Part of the money collected from tourists is used in conservation especially through funding the different conservation projects.
Conclusively, tourism is good for mountain gorillas and it’s the reason why today mountain gorilla conservation is emphasized in the three countries that have mountain gorillas.