The practice of Eco tourism in Africa by several tour companies has led to the conservation of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, DRC Congo & Uganda (Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park and Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park respectively.
Due to several threats the primates was almost to the extinction but with the great of the late primatologist “Dian Fossey” the mountain gorillas have revised in the number in the mist. There are just 800 of the animals left on the planet, all of them living in the volcanic mountains spanning Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and it’s from research that Uganda has the highest number of the mountain gorillas with 400 species, Rwanda with 200 species and DRC Congo with 200 species.
The conflict in the region, along with poaching and human encroachment on their habitat have threatened their survival. But funds from ‘gorilla tourism’ has helped Rwanda reverse the trend of the shrinking population, by encouraging the benefit sharing to the communities leaving near and far the park in terms of supporting their income generator projects and this has helped so much to create awareness to the communities for the good of saving the parks and this has helped Rwanda to increase in mountain gorillas over the past five years.
Therefore the Gorilla Eco Tourism, sustainable or responsible travel is so much vital as far as tourism is concerned “We need the visitors because it is their money that helps to save the gorillas,”
Rwanda and other neighboring regions managing the mountain gorillas have successfully conducted and placed conservation tools like limiting the number of visitors to 8 clients per day visiting the gorillas to ensure the gorillas are not disturbed but letting enough in to fund their protection. Gorillas trips to take it with the issued gorilla permit which each cost $750 USD each in Rwanda, $ 600 USD each in Uganda and $ 464 USD each in DRC Congo and it is only in Uganda you can have a promotional gorilla permit at $ 450 USD each in low season (April, May and November every year and the gorilla habituation is launched and the permit is $ 1500 USD, foreign visitor, $ 1000 USD foreign resident and 750,000 Uganda Shillings for the East African Resident.
Deep in the forest you will find the silver backs, with one huge male lounging on his side with a young gorilla clambering over him. He glanced at us, grunted, and then went back to munching a piece of tree bark.
Coming face to face with the gorillas is a remarkable experience. In their eyes you sense some kind of recognition, and some of the young males were so curious they wandered over to get a close look at us, brushing past our legs. “It was amazing to get so close.”It cost a lot of money but it was worth it.” Gorilla tourism is worth £3m a year to Rwanda and has created thousands of jobs out of the tourism industry to communities leaving near and far away the park and this concept has lead to the high level of conservation of mountain gorillas. Even former poachers at the Virunga like Anastase Gasaga now recognize the animals are worth more alive than dead. “I make money helping the foreigners see the gorillas, so I don’t need to poach anymore,” he said.