Mountain gorilla tracking can be done either in Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and the number of these endangered species is noticeably increasing.One then asks, why is there a recurring increase in the number of gorillas in the countries where they live?
The answer to this question is almost obvious and is attributed to the monetary value of the presence of the gorillas leading to an increase on the number of gorilla safaris to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. The concern to protect the gorillas rises starting from the locals bordering the parks of interest to the governments of the different mentioned countries.
The major reason for the raise in the number of gorillas would be the price of the seeing the gorillas. In Uganda, a gorilla permit has been raised from $500 to $600 while in Rwanda the price was raised from $500 – $750. Currently Uganda has 10 habituated gorilla groups where tourists are allowed to visit and track gorillas, 9 of the groups are in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and one at Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
A number of 8 visitors is allowed to visit one gorilla group which means there are 80 permits a day represent a 40,000 USD income to the Ugandan Government from gorilla permits alone add on top of that lodging that can run from a few dollars to a 1000 USD per night, transport charges, food, taxes gained and other things bringing income to the government.
With a daily income as high as that, this gives for the Uganda Wildlife Authority to do everything to protect the Mountain Gorillas from Harm. Should harm in the form of sickness, infighting, or even being caught in the snare of some poachers, there are even the dedicated and selfless men and women-the Gorilla Doctors who go out and check on the health of the various Gorilla groups and make sure they are all in good health.
Also the locals go out of their way to protect the gorillas because the Uganda Wildlife passes on a percentage of the Mountain Gorilla Permit money to aid the local community. But the gorilla trekking activity offers the locals much more – there are the jobs created by the lodges around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga including some community lodging programs, guides in village walks that aid the community, crafts created and sold within the area, the guided mountain biking rides created by Ride 4, resulting a community behind the efforts of protecting the gorillas.
As much as the government has put in a lot of effort in protecting the gorillas, for the most part the community is totally behind protecting the ancient forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Parks and there has been a lot of input into educating the communities around the parks to realize that it is best for the community to protect the forest and the mountain gorillas.
Walter Baumgärtel , was the first gorilla tourist to track gorillas in Uganda would be astonished at the growth of Gorilla in Uganda today. Having come to Uganda with an interest to visiting gorillas ended up buying the Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro, which became second home for Dian Fossey and others such as George Schaller. He later appealed to the British Colonial Administration to take visitors to see the Mountain Gorillas.