New gorilla groups to boost tourism


The Uganda Wildlife Authority has habituated two new gorilla groups for tourists.

The authority’s executive director, Moses Mapesa, said people who are interested in gorilla tracking that there was no cause for alarm over the recent movement of the Bwindi habituated gorilla group, Rushegura, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was addressing journalists on Friday.

Mapesa said at the time of Rushegura’s movement, they had already organised another group, Bitukura, at Ruhija.

“Once we detected signs that the Rushegura was disintegrating or changing home range, we started habituating two new groups. So, the movement has not caused any disruption in tourism,” Mapesa said.
He added that bookings started on September 1.

The Rushegura family, which has been residing in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, comprises 14 gorillas. It was the second family to be habituated for tourism and had been viewed by tourists for 14 years.

Gorillas are one of the leading tourism attractions in Uganda and the country has the biggest number of gorillas in the world.

Of the world population of 720 gorillas, 340 are found in Uganda and the rest in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mapesa said their strategy of diversifying and habituating new gorilla families will satisfy the growing international interest in gorillas and boost Uganda’s tourism sector.

At the same press conference, the wildlife authority also received five sets of the Global Positioning System from the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species.

Mapesa said the equipment would be used in aerial surveys and in the monitoring and research activities in national parks.