Recently, the amount of baby gorillas born in Uganda is on the increase. According to report by Ugandan journalist, Amos Wekesa, two of the East African country’s national parks, Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park have been experiencing a serious spike in the number of baby silverbacks born recently.
While it’s good following politics, it’s even better following great events like the Gorilla baby boom in the above Ugandan national parks like am trying to explain in this piece.
Uganda has over 52% of the world’s mountain gorillas and they are all found in the Virungas which are found in Uganda, DRC and Rwanda and aren’t found in zoos. In zoos, you find low land gorillas found in DRC and other parts of West Africa.
Trekking gorillas one has to be 15 years and above and for a Ugandan, you pay ushs250k to trek them. A foreigner pays USD 700 to see them for an hour after hours of tracing for them. This is gold for Uganda.
Okay, some of friends think they have seen gorillas and if you ask them, where? Oh Busitema and Mabira, mujooga batumye. Those are olive baboons not mountain gorillas you people. Spend and see these gorillas you people.
You spending ushs 250k won’t make Uganda Wildlife Authority rich but will certainly make you a Ugandan marketing ambassador which is fantastic. You will speak from firsthand experience not mbu, I heard etc.
Ugandans take advantage of the ushs 250k during this COVID season and enjoy the gentle giants. Am saving up to also take my 15 years old son to see the gorillas and am excited about this whole experience for him.
We have between 34 and 55 groups in general as a country and these estimates are because we don’t monitor wild groups as a country and they keep splitting and growing. We have seen that happen to habituated groups over the years.
Habituation is the process of making gorillas or chimpanzees or other animals get used to seeing them. It’s about 2 years to make the gorillas get used to seeing humans and its gorillas move on averagely 1km a day.
Habituating chimpanzees take close to 6 years because they are more agile and can move up to 25kms in a day. They split themselves in smaller groups after de-nesting in the morning to avoid competition for food that’s. Clever, right?
Uganda has got 20 families or groups that tourists can pay and see in the above 2 national parks. Only 8 paying clients are allowed to see a family due to scientific reasons per day and therefore Uganda could make usd 40,880,000 if all the groups tracked daily in the year on full capacity of 58,400 clients.
The impact on the economy per foreign tourist is much bigger than the gate collection of over usd 40m dollars. It’s because the tourist starts spending from the time they land at the airport to the time they return to the airport to head out of the country.
Uganda’s Bwindi National Park has the highest concentration of the same gorillas in the world and has 10 other species of primates including some pockets of chimpanzees. It’s a haven for birders as well. It covers an area of 331 sq kilometers and was gazetted in 1991 by the current government and I don’t understand why they can protect Bugoma now.
Bwindi is a UNESCO site whose ID is 682 which means you can’t just wake up and destroy it. It’s a world heritage. Bwindi has 120 species of mammals, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns for example and lies at altitude between 1160 and 2670m above sea level.
By Amos Wekesa