Mountain Gorilla Census recently carried out in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest documented the largest Total number of Mountain Gorillas ever recorded. The Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem survey documented 459 Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) as one of the two remaining areas where this specie of endangered great ape is still found. When this figure is combined with published figure of 604 Mountain Gorillas that were detected in Virunga Massif in 2016, the global total figure of known Mountain Gorillas shows an increase to 1,063 mountain gorillas surviving in the whole world.
During the census, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Sarambwe Nature Reserve in DR Congo that covers an area of 340 square kilometers, the total number of mountain Gorillas that were found is 459 individuals staying in 50 groups, 13 individual gorillas were recorded as solitary. This recording is compared to an estimated figure of 400 individual gorillas that were found in 36 groups and 16 solitary individuals from a survey that were carried out in the same area in 2011.
The Survey team who walked pre-determined in previous mountain gorilla census that were conducted in the Virunga Massif, ensured thorough coverage of all forest areas to sweep the Bwindi-Sarambwe in search of signs of Mountain gorillas, other mammals and check for human activities. Later on, fresh gorilla signs were detected. The team tries to make their follow up through the gorilla trail to where they located three recent night nest sites. At each of the nest sites encountered, the team were able to collect fecal samples from the nests. The process of counting Mountain Gorillas was completed in two phases, first from march to May 2018 for 62 days and the second phase from October to December 2018 for 60 Days. The second sweep allows findings of gorillas that were not detected during the first sweep and thus providing more reliable number of gorillas. Fecal samples were analyzed genetically to determine individual genotypes.
The census team during the process also collected data on signs and sightings of selected mammals, including Chimpanzee and elephants plus human activities, such as snares and tree cuttings. The Mountain Gorilla census conducted in the Bwindi forest-Sarambwe ecosystem and the one conducted in the Virunga Massif before that, are regarded to be excellent testimony to the importance of trans-boundary collaborations envisaged the greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration (GVTC) treaty. Its therefore believed that people can only protect things properly if they know them properly. The census were conducted by the Protected area authorities in Uganda Known as Uganda Wildlife Authority in collaboration with Democratic Republic of Congo under the trans-boundary framework of the greater Virunga Conservation.
The Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem encompasses approximately 331 Square kilometers in Uganda, while 9 square kilometers are in Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2018, the threat status for mountain gorillas were upgraded from critically endangered specie to Endangered in the IUCN Red list of the threatened species. This shows an indication of success in mountain gorilla Conservation program.
Mountain Gorillas living in Uganda’s Bwindi forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Virunga National park are Endangered. Meaning more conservation effort is still needed. Visitors of Africa particularly in Uganda and the Virunga Massif, who may be with an interest and passion to conserve these Mountain gorillas are encouraged to support conservation effort by Visiting them.
To visit Mountain Gorillas, you must posses a gorilla trekking permit for Uganda that cost $700. In Rwanda gorilla trekking permit cost $1,500, which is higher than other places and in DR Congo $450. For the best gorilla trekking experience in all places, you must arrange and book a gorilla trekking permit in advance through a reliable tour company in Uganda, or Rwanda.
Arranging a Gorilla tour with a travel company, gives you assurance for a successful gorilla trekking while sleeping in a nice comfortable lodge recommended by a travel agent, who will also organize your return transport from one point to another. Besides mountain Gorillas, Uganda as a pearl of Africa gifted by nature, has variety of wildlife living in beautiful scenic parks and Uganda is a country rich in culture, therefore Exploring more areas and visiting local people, creates unforgettable experience for your holiday Safari in Africa.