The gorilla safaris in Uganda are to vanish if management of Bwindi impenetrable national. The United Nations Environment Programme has designated 2009 as the Year of the Gorilla in an effort to raise awareness about the various threats to the endangered species. Years of protecting the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwest Uganda nearly unravelled four years ago when gorillas began to destroy farm crops outside the reserve.
Villagers and wildlife officials have since partnered to ensure that the community receives economic benefits for helping to conserve Bwindi’s mountain gorillas. The agreement has furthered efforts to ensure the apes’ safety and could serve as a model for protecting gorillas across central Africa. This partnership has greatly helped to protect gorillas hence encouraging more gorilla tours to Uganda.
Bwindi was previously considered among the most secure reserves for the endangered gorilla. Some 320 individuals, about half of the wild global population, live there. The rest are scattered across Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
The threats facing gorillas vary across this range because some African cultures regard gorillas as just another animal that can be hunted for bush meat, some regard its meat as having medicinal or magical properties, whereas others find the idea of eating gorillas offensive,” said Ian Redmond, a tropical field biologist and ambassador of the ongoing United Nations-designated
Many gorillas have been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rebel fighters, thousands of refugees, and slum residents surround Virunga National Park, home to an estimated 81 mountain gorillas. The humanitarian crisis has led to a growing dependency on charcoal for fuel, emboldening illegal loggers to enter the reserve, remove gorilla habitat, and kill apes that stand in their way.
In Rwanda and Uganda, gorilla populations are slowly on the rise due in large part to conservation programs funded by tourists who pay to see the great apes. Bwindi officials began developing sightseeing programs in 2003. Rangers then started to follow a group of gorillas so that the animals would become comfortable around humans. But a scabies outbreak among the apes forced the park to suspend tourism.
In an effort to solve the problem of damaging gorillas, frustrated with the stalled tourism effort and continued gorilla raids, the village agreed to sell the Uganda Wildlife Authority the 12 kilometres of community land where the gorillas had been foraging. The land became a buffer zone, where wildlife officials and the community worked together to develop crops that the gorillas would not find as appetizing, such as lemon grass, wheat, tea, and the medicinal crop Artemisia. This helped to conserve many gorillas hence increasing on safari tours to Uganda.
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