Gorilla Safaris Information and Rules
Abacus African vacations Gorilla Information and Rules.If you are to consider hiking Mountain Gorilla's in Uganda, Rwanda or the D.R.Congo take the following briefing information as applicable to any of the 3 countries where you may trek Mountain Gorilla's.
However, much of the extract has been got from the printed leaflet by the Uganda Wildlife Authority 'Gorilla Rules' with additional information added.
WHAT IS YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONSERVATION OF THE MOUNTAINS?
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie) are the world's most endangered ape species. They are only found in small portions of protected Afro montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC. They are amongst the many unique species to these forests. These forests are also a habitation to many marvelous large mammals, primates, reptiles, birds, insects, plants PLUS lasting water and medical plant resources for the local communities.
Mountain gorillas are divided into two populations and currently the total population is estimated to be about 600 individuals. One of the populations is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), in South covering about 330km. The ecologically homogenous (salem flora and fauna) covering the three contiguous National Parks in three countries is; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcano National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, covering an approximate total area of 300km2.
There are many threats to the remaining gorilla population and its habitat one of them being the possibility of disease outbreak and transmission from humans to gorillas and vice versa. However, to address this issue and mitigate behavioral disturbances to this fragile population, we have developed gorilla rules. So through purchase of the permit you too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla. Uganda Wildlife Authority uses the funds generated from the sale of this permit for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from Park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region. A PERMIT COST 360US DOLLAR S
BEFORE DEPARTING ON YOUR GORILLA TREK:
Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
ON THE WAY TO THE GORILLAS
a) Please always keep your voices low. You will then also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
b) You will be taken to where the guides observed the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla's trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla's nesting sites along the way
c) DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you
d) A maximum number of 6 visitors (8 in DR Congo and if trekking one of the larger groups in Rwanda) may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
e) When you approach the Gorillas, the guides will inform you to get ready.
WHEN YOU ARE WITH THE GORILLAS:
a) A 5-meter distance should try to be observed at all times (15 feet) from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.
b) You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas.
c) Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is OK to ask the guide questions.
d) Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases
e) Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not try and to take picture and do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk.
f) Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully.
g) Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals. They might look cuddly but!
h) The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
i) After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres from the gorillas.
GENERAL HEALTH RULES:
a) Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to them:
b) Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
c) If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.
d) If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
e) Always stay 5 metres (15 feet) away form the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
f) Do not attempt to touch the gorillas.
g) Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are with the gorillas.
h) Do not leave any rubbish (e.g. food wrappers) in the Park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.
i) If you need to defecate, whilst in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30cms deep and fill it in when you are finished.
An essential reference website for those planning to be part of a visit to a Mountain Gorilla family should checkout Uganda Safaris Guide