What You Didn’t Know About Gorillas
There are few wildlife experiences on the planet that rival coming face to face with a 158 kilogram Mountain Gorilla. For that matter about 800,000 people come on to Uganda every year, to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat. This requires paying a sum of $US500 per person for a gorilla tracking permit, then trekking through thick jungles and steep mountains to spend an hour gazing at one of the most endangered species on the planet.
Gorilla tracking, controversial since its launch, could have saved the primate from extinction years ago through raising awareness and funds for their protection. Tourists are advised to refrain from tracking and give up their permits if they have any signs of a cold or flu, while local guides and trackers are given frequent health checks to ensure the sustainability of the primate. This is because humans and mountain gorillas share about 98.5 per cent of their DNA – a close bond that raises concerns that gorillas may be vulnerable to human diseases. There is a possibility that humans can give deadly diseases to gorillas therefore showing just how vulnerable this already critically endangered species is.
Scientists believe that the number of the remaining mountain gorillas is so small, it wouldn’t take a lot to do serious damage to their population. Reviews have for long tried to explain that Gorilla safaris, which bring thousands of visitors to Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks and Congo’s Volcanoes national park pump very important money into these national parks, guaranteeing patrols that protect gorillas from other threats like poaching. Additionally, the income generated by tourists coming to see the mountain gorillas brings cash to local communities that surround the parks, giving residents a financial stake in preserving the gorillas and the national parks, in a country like Uganda where land and resources are scarce.
During the trek, the Uganda Wildlife Authority stipulates rules calling on human visitors to keep at least a distance of seven metres from the beasts when they trail through the jungle to watch gorillas. Gorilla tracking is a huge source of income to Uganda as it financially helps the people surrounding the parks and also in conserving the gorilla national parks in the country. If done responsibly with very strict guide lines aimed at protecting the survival of the gorillas, then the cost benefit gained is worth the risk.