Mountain Gorilla Conservation
Mountain Gorilla Conservation- Mountain gorillas inhabit the mountain slope of the 8 Virunga volcanoes straddling across three countries of East and Central Africa namely DR Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. In Uganda, they are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park both located in the southwestern part of Uganda, Rwanda in volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of Uganda, and Virunga national park located in the eastern part of DR Congo. Mountain gorillas are the largest primates in the world and they are referred to as critically endangered with about 1071 surviving in the wild.
The conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas was triggered by Dian Fossey an American primatologist in 1983 where she had left Virunga national park due to insecurity. Dian Fossey dedicated all her life to the conservation and study of mountain gorillas, chased away poachers from the park, bought equipment for park rangers but unfortunately, she was found dead in one of her cabins on 25th December 1985. At a time of her death there were about 300 mountain gorillas left surviving in the wild but her legacy kept living and the work of gorilla conservation continued until today we have about 1071 mountain gorillas in the wild with Bwindi impenetrable forest national park having more than a half of these giant apes.
Mountain gorilla conservation methods
Veterinary medicine and education
The introduction of veterinary education in universities such as Makerere University in Uganda, ruth Keesling wildlife health and research center have greatly helped in teaching Africans about wildlife veterinary medicine. The training has also provided a research platform where students learn more about endangered mountain gorillas, many of the graduates now work in gorilla parks and this has helped in the conservation and population increase of these mountain gorillas
Set up of gorilla rules and regulations
Before going to the jungle for gorilla trekking, the trekkers forest gather at the park headquarters to be taught about the rules and regulations followed while trekking these gentle apes and the rules include lowering your voices around mountain gorillas, keeping a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas, not eating, drinking or smoking near mountain gorillas, not trekking when you have diseases such as flu, cough, and diarrhea, avoiding direct eye contact with mountain gorillas and so many others. These rules set up help in protecting mountain gorillas and the trekkers hence conserving them.
Donation to mountain gorilla conservation units
One of the ways to help the conservation of mountain gorillas is by donating money to mountain gorilla conservation organizations on the ground. The money got helps in funding the work of the organization and paying workers
Including other activities in the park from gorilla trekking
There are other activities you can combine with gorilla trekking on your visit to the park and this is one of the ways to conserve mountain gorillas by supporting local communities through buying their handmade crafts and engaging in the development projects and alternative resources.
End poaching gorillas and illegal trade of gorillas
Penalties have been set for anyone who are got poaching mountain gorillas or selling mountain gorilla meat, this method has been effective through patrol done by park rangers within the national parks and the imprisonment of poachers has scared off many of them.
Provision of education to local communities
Most local community people used to kill mountain gorillas because of ignorance of the importance of these apes to the community, the creation of outreach programs on education about gorillas has created alertness about the importance of mountain gorillas to the local communities
Participate or organize fundraising campaigns
Anyone can participate in the fundraising campaigns, tell their friends and families about the campaign or organize a fundraising campaign to support the conservation efforts of the endangered mountain gorillas
Where to trek mountain gorillas in Africa
Mountain gorillas in Africa can be trekked in only three countries and these are Uganda and Rwanda in East Africa as well as DR Congo of Central Africa. Uganda has the highest number of mountain gorillas roaming in the tropical forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park with 20 habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga gorilla park with one habituated gorilla family. In Rwanda mountain gorillas can only be found in volcanoes national park with 10 habituated gorilla families and in DR Congo Mountain gorillas can be found in Virunga national park located in the eastern part of the country with 8 habituated gorilla families.
What is the best time to book a gorilla permit?
With a limited number of gorilla families, you need to book a gorilla permit in advance of 3-4 months before arriving into the country for gorilla trekking. Booking early avoids you short notice or last-minute frustrations which can lead you to trek in a season you never wanted. Early booking of a gorilla permit also enables timely booking of best accommodation facilities ensuring quality food and sleeping services. During the dry months of December, January, February, June, July, August, and September, the permits sell out so quickly due to high demand within these months because there’s a few amounts of rainfall.
What is the price of gorilla trekking?
Rwanda permits are expensively sold out to tourists at $1500, DR Congo permits are sold for $450 in the dry season and $200 in the low season. Lastly, Uganda gorilla permits cost $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and shs250,000 citizens of East Africa. you are advised to book gorilla permits in advance of 3-4 months and they are not sold to persons under the age of 15 years.
What is the best time to trek mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas can be trekked at any time of the year but the best season to trek these giant gentle apes is the dry season which occurs in December, January, February, June, July, August, and September. During the dry months, there is little or no rainfall with the vegetation thin for easy viewing of gorillas, the roads leading to the park are accessible and the trekking trails are dry.
What to pack for mountain gorilla trekking?
Since mountain gorillas stay at a higher elevation of tropical and sub-tropical rain forests you should expect rain to fall at any time of the day so you need to pack a rain jacket, waterproof hiking shoes, sunscreen, garden gloves, enough drinking water, a pair of gaiters, energy-giving snacks, long-sleeved clothes, face mask, sanitizer, a pair of binoculars, a pair of gaiters, good quality camera and extra batteries, walking stick, insect repellents, and so much more.