For those interested in finding the perfect and unique thing to do while in Africa, Uganda Gorilla trekking safaris and tours are the most satisfying thing to do; they are the peak of any wildlife holiday that any traveler would ever want to have. Unfortunately even with the awesomeness of these species, their population greatly declined in the past to a small number; a reason why scientists labeled them as a “critically endangered” species.
In 2006 a report by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) stated that there were only 302 mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; a place which has actually for some time accommodated almost half of the world’s population. This was a number too small and if conservation efforts were not quickly undertaken, the population was bound to increase in its deterioration.
The lives of the Mountain gorillas are threatened by a number of predators, the highest of which has always been man. Humans mostly directly threaten mountain gorilla through poaching, which is mainly done by the settlements that live around their habitats. For example on17th June 2011, Mizano, a member of the Habinyanja family (which is a delight to Gorilla safari trackers in Uganda) was found dead, with evidence of spear wounds.
Indirectly, man has threatened the survival of mountain gorillas by destroying part of the impenetrable forest which provides a home to the mountain gorillas; habitat loss simply translates into stress on the survival of the gorillas. In Uganda this has not been as serious as it has been in the neighboring Virunga National Park of Congo DR and perhaps that’s the reason why Uganda holds the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world.
Fortunately, because of the cooperative efforts by both local and international conservation organizations, we have seen a steady increase in the numbers of gorilla individuals in Bwindi from the 302 in 2006 to the 400 which were recorded in the latest census carried out in 2012. This is a very good picture for the future of gorilla trekking tours and safaris in Uganda and we look forward to an increase in numbers in the next census.
The team of conservationists includes the Uganda Wildlife Authority; which is in charge of all National parks in Uganda; the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project; and the IGCP which is a coalition of the World Wildlife Fund and African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna & Flora International. These private and public sector foundations have extended aid in form of expertise, finances, research, treatment, and sensitization of the local communities about the significance of protecting the mountain gorilla species.
Today, the Bwindi Mountain Gorilla Population represents nearly half of the total population of the few mountain gorilla individuals that remain in our world today, and together with Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda is able to house at least half of the 880 mountain gorillas in the world. Bwindi has twelve habituated mountain gorilla families spread out through its four (4) sectors and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one (1) family called Nyakagezi.
Habituation has greatly helped in studying the mountain gorilla species and this way, scientists have been able to ascertain ways in which to perfectly conserve them; one of Bwindi’s twelve (12) habituated families (the Kyaguriro mountain gorilla family) has even been set-aside for research alone.
Apart from the Kyaguriro mountain gorilla family, travelers on Uganda Mountain Gorilla Safaris can enjoy a trek along one of the trails in Mgahinga or Bwindi to track these invaluable species. And the fascinations of every individual safari will continue to cloud the minds of Uganda’s visitors. We are greatly thankful to all groups and individuals which have been part of the conservation struggle. The future is brighter that way!
Uganda Safaris/Uganda Safari News
wild gorilla Safaris & Tours Ltd