WHY YOU SHOULD TRACK MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
WHY YOU SHOULD TRACK MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
Mountain gorillas are Uganda and Rwanda’s prime tourism product and gorilla tracking is a major activity. It tops most of the travelers’ interests to the two countries. In Uganda, it is done in the two and national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In Rwanda, they only survive in the mist forest that covers the volcanoes in the Northern Part at Volcanoes National Park.
In 2019, a census done by three of Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo indicated that 1064 individuals of these giant apes existed in all the 3 countries. This is about 4 times bigger than the 254 individuals that were estimated to be left in the world back in 1981 before gorilla tracking started in the 1990s. Credit for the rise is always given to only the conservationists, but tourists play a big role in the conservation of these endangered apes.
Mountain gorillas are one of the most amazing primates in Africa, they survive in the high altitude forests, and below are some of the reasons you should make an effort through the tough and rough terrain to track these apes.
- You will have contributed to conservation.
Conservation is very expensive at all costs (time, money, and other resources). Gorilla Tourism is the biggest income earner for Uganda and Rwanda’s tourism sectors. The revenue from gorilla tracking is invested back in conservation (paying researchers, rangers, and buying equipment among others) not only for the parks that host gorillas but also the other parks in these countries. It is because of this revenue that we have seen the numbers of these gorillas rise and also increasing effort in curbing wildlife crimes. So gorilla tracking is a big advantage to not only gorilla conservation but general conservation.
- You contribute to community enrichment
5% of the fees paid for a gorilla tracking permit, go to a fund that is divided amongst communities around the parks that host mountain gorillas in Uganda. This is used to fund community projects like extending piped water and agricultural inputs to communities. Also, usually, gorilla tracking safaris have community tours as an add-on to help communities earn from tourism directly. A visit to say the Batwa communities that were evicted from the forest decades ago gives them an alternative source of income and how to survive in a community they are struggling to get used to.
- Mountain gorillas are endangered and unique primates.
Mountain gorillas are endangered species and only survive in the wild. They are not seen in zoos. Spending an hour sitting in the silence on the cold floor of any forest that hosts them is an experience like no other. Gorilla tracking is an opportunity to learn and observe the daily interactions of the mysterious primates.
- Gorilla tracking is a combination of many activities.
The challenging terrain promises a life adventure that combines almost all the activities offered in these parks. Some of these activities like nature walks and birding are done as sole activities but gorilla tracking, it is an amalgam of all these. This means that other wildlife at the parks like the L’Hoest monkeys, Black and White Colobus, blue monkeys, Mangabeys are likely to cross your path. Also other like birds, butterflies, duikers, chimpanzees, among others.
So, Mountain gorillas surviving in the wild and being only seen by trekking into their natural homes is not just a chance to catch a peek at these apes, but a combination of a lot of other advantages. You support communities, conservation. This is why as guests are being briefed before gorilla tracking in either country, rangers cannot stop thanking them and informing them how their interest in gorilla tracking is important in the conservation of wildlife.
You can visit the mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda with African Rock Safaris.