The park rangers and trackers in gorilla safari destinations of Uganda, Rwanda along with Democratic Republic of Congo have embarked on the utilisation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) along with other tools for the gorilla counting exercise in the Virunga massif.
During the gorilla census exercise, the enumerators follow a gorilla trail also used by travellers on gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda traversing the dense towering bamboo tree species before locating the gorilla nest site from where the scientific recording takes place.
It can be noted that unlike the human census, during gorilla counting, the enumerator does not get the opportunity to meet the mountain gorillas physically but they aim at spotting the nests where the gorillas spent an overnight. The records of gorilla solid waste are taken for examination of genetics from which the lineage and age of the identified species is determined.
The veterinary experts assert that when the dung of the gorilla is measured and tested in laboratories, it offers an opportunity to identify the gorilla numbers thriving in the park along with their DNA, sex and age among other aspects. This information is very helpful to both the conservationists and the undertakers of gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda as it brings out in-depth facts about these remarkable creatures.
The exercise involves use of more sophisticated scientific methods and materials including the use of cyber trucker which is used to record all the data gathered from the field as it awaits laboratory studying. Other tools like Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were utilized to identify locations. The use of this modern technology with no doubt enhanced the technical capacity of the game rangers that participated in the exercise.
The exercise which was undertaken in the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary collaboration intends to ascertain the current number of mountain gorillas. The results of this exercise are set to be released in the year 2017 and will form a considerable yardstick for the future of gorilla conservation and tourism.
The GVTC is credited for initiating and maintaining the combined effort for joint management and conservation of the critically endangered Mountain gorillas through enhanced security and collaboration against habitat loss and wildlife threats including poaching. The mountain gorillas form the foundation for gorilla safaris and tours which is among the strongholds of tourism industry in the respective governments.
The gorilla census is conducted every after five (5) years in a joint arrangement of the three (3) states under their respective wildlife conservation bodies.