In Africa today, tourism has become one of the major sources of income in the East African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi for example) and many other African countries. Because of its contribution to the countries’ economies, they have turned great focus on its further development and management through their Tourism boards / ministries. For example, these tourism boards are responsible for managing the tourism sector and have seen it through the conservation, protection and management of several natural resources that bring in tourists such as; National game parks, forests and natural vegetation, volcanoes and mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, birds,etc among others.
In the Virunga Ranges of Africa where mountain gorilla tracking is based that is Uganda- Bwindi Impenetrable Tropical rainforest and Mgahinga National Park, Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park, DRC – Virunga National park, in their struggles to conserve the wild, have established quite a number of regulations based for the safety of the endangered creatures. Among these, all visitors are required to work hand in hand with the tourism boards/ ministries and tour companies to retain the remaining number of these creatures in the world.
The recent census (2013) indicated that mountain gorillas are an endangered species of the wild with only about 880 individuals surviving in the whole world. From this estimate, 440 mountain gorillas are within Bwindi Impenetrable Tropical rainforest and the other half in the virunga region shared by Mgahinga, Volcanoes National Park and the virunga national park of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo ( DRC) respectively.It is therefore every traveller’s role to get involved in the protection of the wild and this can best be done through the payments made for gorilla trekking tickets that later on used in the conservation woks / roles. And also following u the game established rules and directions from the tour guides while on a gorilla safari to the homes of mountain gorillas.These may include among others;
- A single gorilla family can only be visited is visited by eight people in a day and restricted to an hour of interaction with the animals
- Visitors / people are not allowed to keep close with these creatures so should atheist stay away 7 meters from the animals even when reached / provoked by these mammals.
- Limit your eye contact with the gorillas and avoid flash lights when photographing etc.
To elaborate on keeping some distance away from the mountain gorillas is to help maintain their growing numbers as ,this helps in the reduction of the spread of diseases from humans to mammals ( especially the young that have less immunity systems). The 7metres distance away from the endangered creatures also helps them to keep in their natural state, eating, playing and teasing each other
It should be noted that at times it may be hard to keep this rule as the young mountain gorillas usually try to approach humans though tourists / visitors are always reminded to avoid getting in contact with these animals.