Gorilla trekking safaris are bound to increase due to an increase in the number of gorillas in Uganda. Uganda is now home to nearly half of the world’s mountain gorillas remaining in the wild, a source of confidence for a country that has come to depend heavily on the popular apes for substantial tourism revenue. The rest of the surviving mountain gorillas — the species Gorilla beringei beringei — are in Congo and Rwanda
The population of Uganda‘s mountain gorillas has grown to 880, giving hope to conservationists trying to save the critically endangered species.”The increase in the population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is testimony to the sound natural resource management policies that are being implemented in the protected areas,” Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism said in a statement received Friday. “This result confirms beyond reasonable doubt that Uganda’s conservation efforts are paying off.”
Gorilla tracking has improved due to the presence of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a network of forested jungle deep in the country’s south-western frontier, which is recognized by UNESCO as a heritage site of world value. A permit to track gorillas there costs at least $500 and the World Wildlife Fund estimates that each gorilla brings in up to $1 million in revenue each year for the East African country.
Mountain gorillas in the wild still face threats ranging from habitat loss to poaching, especially in Congo, where lawlessness in the country’s vast eastern territory has allowed illegal hunters to prosper. Mountain gorillas are hunted for their meat in Congo, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
The conservation group Gorilla Doctors said the population growth was partly due to “extreme conservation” methods such as daily ranger monitoring in the forest. Ugandan wildlife officials have been able to build successful partnerships with local communities in part by pouring some of the revenue into local projects, converting previously hostile groups into friendly advocates for the gorillas‘ survival. This has helped to increase mountain gorilla safaris to Uganda.