The critically endangered mountain gorillas which are always encountered on gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are set for counting to ascertain their current population status. The new gorilla census is targeting the Greater Virunga Massif as noted by the Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration (GVTC).
The Greater Virunga Massif which incorporates the Volcanoes National
Park in Rwanda, the Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of
Congo, Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda which
have for long formed the ground for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris.
The previous census is noted to have occurred in 2010 following other
series of censuses that were carried out in 1997, 2002 and 2006. The
Mountain gorillas populations were given at 880 as per the last census
and close to a half of these were noted to be living in Uganda with 400
in her gorilla habitat of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is
also a famous destination for gorilla safaris in Uganda.
The exercise is noted to have started earlier but the insecurity in the
Democratic Republic of Congo had posed a barrier to it as narrated by
the GVTC Programme Manager James Byamukama. However, with the calm that
have been registered following the ousting of the M23 rebels, the
gorilla census will commence in September starting with the Congo’s
Virunga National Park.
The gorilla census is seen as an avenue
through which the plans for a sustainable future conservation and
matching the trends of the emerging gorilla threats can be ascertained
and worked upon. The DNA analysis and fecal samples are noted to be the
key method to ascertaining the gorilla numbers unlike the past where
they depended on sweep method. The sweep method would see the selected
teams traverse the park’s marked sectors walking in a zigzag manner in
search of fresh trails of gorillas up to their nests and would then
count them. However, this proved inefficient as there would cases of
double counting or underestimation at certain points.
gorilla populations are noted to have been increasing since 1997 and
these sub species of gorilla are differentiated from others by the thick
coats that cover them from the coldness of the mount forest habitats
where they dwell. Although they feature fewer predators naturally, the mountain gorillas
are critically endangered due to habitat loss through encroachment and
forest clearing. These Sub species are also prone to accidental hunting
when the poachers are looking for wild meat. The snares set in the
gorilla forests are sometimes encountered by gorilla trekkers on Uganda gorilla safaris and tours. The mountain gorillas are also affected by human diseases.
Uganda gorilla safaris/Uganda gorilla safari News
Prime Uganda safaris & Tours Ltd