Why Mountain Gorillas are Important
Mountain gorillas are the only great apes facing population increase, this all after serious conservation efforts by different organizations close to the habitats of these apes. In 2018 after an increase in number from 840 to 1,004 following a census carried out in the Virunga massif, mountain Gorillas were moved from critically endangered to endangered on the IUCN Red list. Mountain gorillas only survive in their natural habitat and to see them you must trek on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari, gorilla safari Rwanda or a Congo gorilla trekking safari.
Mountain gorillas are found in just two isolated high altitude tropical forests conserved in 4 national parks. The Virunga massif that spans the borders Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has mountain gorillas conserved in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The other gorillas are found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; therefore, the country has 2 national parks with mountain gorillas (the only country in the world with such).
These great black fur-coated apes are some of man’s closest relatives. Mountain gorillas generally live in groups of several females with their young and usually one dominant adult male known as a silverback (this is because of the patch of silver hair on his back and hips). Seeing mountain gorillas interact in the jungle with the juveniles curiously playing on the trees, chewing leaves and the protection by the silverback is a sight to behold on safari and the reason for increasing gorilla safaris.
Why mountain gorillas are so important in their habitat
Just like other wild animals, Mountain Gorillas, play an important role in their environment. Without these large-scale shoots and root grazers eating lots of vegetation, the natural balance in the food chain would be disrupted. Lack of the balance in the food chain could negatively affect other wildlife in the area, and ultimately the people who depend on that environment for food, water and other resources.
Gone are the times for only game drives in the parks, it time to have a real adventure trekking in the wild. With these increasing gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo the countries too are gaining. With the rarity of the species many natives have gotten jobs to guide tourists through the jungle and this is a great benefit for the communities. It’s estimated that one mountain gorilla can indirectly generate £2.5 million over its lifetime from tourist income.
Threats to Mountain Gorillas
Sadly, Mountain Gorillas are at a high risk and Humans being the biggest threat. Habitat loss by human activity, deforestation and extractions from the gorilla habitats put their existence at risk. The good news is that with the strong conservation efforts, then we can all do something to protect the mountain gorillas.
A gorilla trekking safari can be tailored to any number of days like our popular 3 days Uganda gorilla trekking safari Bwindi or any number of days safari. The trip can be tailored for instance to a wildlife safari in Rwanda any other Congo safari or tour in Uganda to create more everlasting memories.
On a gorilla trekking safari always remember to carry only memories and leave only footsteps for the benefit of the gorillas and communities.