Mountain gorillas being social creatures live in families with a dominant silverback gorilla as the leader. In Bwindi impenetrable forest Uganda, there are currently a number of mountain gorilla families that have been habituated to human presence to help boost tourism in Uganda which in turn helps to highlight the plight of these highly endangered gentle giants.
Despite this privileged natural endowment, Uganda spends very little money on marketing tourism compared to its neighbors. Uganda spends a measly $330,000 which is nothing compared to $5m by Rwanda, $10m by Tanzania and a whopping $23m by Kenya. This amount is reflected in the number of tourist arrivals in the other 3 East African Countries and the trend is likely to continue due to the heave investment by the other Countries.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority has yet habituated another group of mountain gorilla families. These two families will be opened for mountain gorilla tracking in the month of November this year so as to meet the increased demand for gorilla permits and also help increase the revenue collected from tracking gorillas.
The mountain gorilla families that are found in the Southern part of Bwindi impenetrable forest are Kahungye and Oruzogo which will make the number of habituated mountain gorilla families available for gorilla trekking to eight in all.
To help protect the mountain gorillas and keep their habitat safe, the Uganda Wildlife Authority limits the number of people who visit each family per day to 8 people. Mountain gorillas being very similar in DNA to humans are very susceptible to diseases that humans suffer and therefore have to be protected. People visiting the gorillas have to adhere to several stringent rules when doing gorilla tracking in the forest. This will bring the number of gorilla tracking permits available to 64 from 48.
A mountain gorilla tracking permit goes for $500 dollars for foreign tourists, $250 for resident foreigners whereas East African citizens pay Shs 100,000.