Mountain Gorilla Population
Mountain Gorilla Population- Mountain gorillas are the largest primates surviving in the tropical and sub-tropical forests of DR Congo in Virunga national park, Rwanda in volcanoes national park, Uganda in Mgahinga national park, and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain gorillas were getting extinct in the 19th century but their population slowly increased due to the conservation efforts of Dian Fossey a great American primatologist who dedicated all her entire life to the conservation of mountain gorillas. Dian Fossey later died on 25th December 1985 in her cabin in volcanoes national park.
Mountain gorillas share 95% DNA with humans making them close relatives with bonobos and chimpanzees. They have got nose prints unique to each other just like human beings have thumbprints. They stay at high elevations of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Virunga conservation area with thick and long fur which helps them adapt to the cold temperatures.
Mountain gorillas stay in groups of 5-30 members dominated by a silverback gorilla which dictates all the group activities. They entirely feed on vegetation such as leaves, stems, bamboo shoots, pith, bark, and sometimes supplement their diet with insects, ants, and termites.
How many mountain gorillas are left?
According to research, only 1071 mountain gorillas are surviving in the wilderness compared to 2010 when the gorilla population was 786 individuals. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park alone has got more than a half of the mountain gorilla population with over 20 habituated gorilla families.
The number of mountain gorillas has surely increased in the past years and all this is possible because of conservation efforts that have greatly increased when the population was estimated to be only 254 individuals left in the wild.
The Mountain gorilla population is estimated by traditional methods of collecting dung samples from nests. It has been found out that mountain gorillas that have been habituated have a higher population growth rate than unhabituated mountain gorillas. mountain gorillas were removed from a list of critically endangered primates and depend on conservation efforts to survive; mountain gorillas face a number of threats such as habitat loss, poaching, wars, disease outbreaks and so much more.
Where to trek mountain gorillas
Mountain gorillas can be trekked from any of the three East and Central African countries. In Uganda, you can see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which harbors the highest number of mountain gorillas in its thick tropical forests, and Mgahinga gorilla park with only one habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi both in the southwestern part of Uganda. In Rwanda one can carry out gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of the country and in DR Congo the gorilla trekking activities can be carried out in Virunga national park.
Price of gorilla trekking
For one to trek mountain gorillas they need a valid gorilla permit and in Uganda, it costs $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and shs250,000 for Eats African citizens. In Rwanda, a gorilla permit costs 1500 while in DR Congo a permit is the cheapest costing $450 in the high season and $200 in the low season. Gorilla permits are sold to persons above the age of 15 years and you are advised to book your gorilla permits 3-4 months in advance to avoid inconvenience.
Price of gorilla habituation
Gorilla habituation is the process of making mountain gorillas get used to human presence and this is done by a group of rangers, researchers, and trekkers who visit these gorilla families every day for a period of about 2-3 years until the gorillas pass a mocking stage. Gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 per person per trek and this is only done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
What is the best time to visit mountain gorillas?
Gorilla can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit these gentle apes is during the two dry seasons which happen in December to February and June to September. During this season, there is little or no rainfall with thin vegetation cover which makes it easy for one to spot mountain gorillas. It’s also during the dry season that the roads leading to the national parks are accessible with trekking trails being dry and not sleepy.
Packing list for gorilla trekking
The only thing you need to do before your adventure for gorilla trekking is to pack and the things to pack for a gorilla safari include waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved clothes, waterproof jacket, garden gloves, camera, binoculars, drinking water, energy-giving snacks, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, walking stick, insect repellents, face mask, and sanitizer.