Benefits of the gentle giants increasing in Population.
On 16th December this very week during the release of 2018 census results for the Bwindi population at the
Kampala Serena Hotel, Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities together with the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration revealed that the number of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in the 340 square transboundary protected forests increased to 459 mountain gorillas in 50 groups and 13 solitary individuals.
Mountain Gorillas are giant, gentle apes which are some of humanity’s closest relatives. They generally live in groups of several females with their infants and usually one silverback which is the dominant male in the group. In Uganda, they are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks respectively. In these parks, they have trekked in various districts or zones. That is to say Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Nakagyezi for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Like all other wild animals, Mountain Gorillas are important to Uganda and particularly tour operators in several ways.Mountain Gorillas help in the balance of the ecosystem: When they eat lots of vegetation, the food chain gets naturally balanced.
The increased number of Mountain Gorillas means an increase in gorilla habituation permits and tracking permits to tourists. Everyone in the country benefits from this increase through the multiplier effect. For example, when tourists come in to track them, Uganda Airlines will get revenue, hotels will earn through selling sleep, fresh food and craft markets will earn an income, tour operators will earn through operating tracking tours, guides will earn from guiding tourist through the tracking tours among others. At the end of it, the government will earn foreign exchange revenue through taxing the hotels, tourism vehicles, tourism personnel among others
Ssebugwawo Jackson is the Manager at Adventure Selfie Tours & Travel Ltd