It is coming to 12:00am, and we have been climbing up and down of this steep volcano for over 1 and half hours. As we continued with the rest of the group passing through the stinging nettles, the bamboo as well as the mud, my eyes quietly glanced at these beautiful primates. I hurriedly called my friend Tom and then whispered saying there they are…….
It was always my pleasure to do something special on my birthday and here I was trekking the mountain gorillas on the day of my birthday. Tom and I wanted to do something special and so chose to visit these unique primates.
I became 29 years old today and this has been the most precious gift in my life. Tracking these mountain gorillas has been the most precious gift to me and Tom my friend was there to witness this tracking of a life time. The permits were fairly expensive but it was worth while taking since it is a direct contribution to the conservation of these primates.
These mountain gorillas also known as the beringei Beringei and are also some of the rarest primates on this planet earth.
They are over 680 gorilla individuals that are on this planet earth with in the wild. These live in the forested mountains in 4 national parks that are split between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These three parks are connected and encompass of the Virunga range of volcanoes.
There are also different species of the gorillas, these are genus gorilla which composes two species and five separate sub species. There are the western gorilla including the two sub species with in the low land forests of Nigeria, Gabon, Democratic republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic. There are also the Eastern gorillas and these include up to three sub species including; the low lands of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo , the mountain gorillas in the volcanoes of Virunga ranges and the sub species of Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Uganda. It’s also not always simple to determine which sub species of the animals is distinct from one another. For the case of gorillas especially the famous mountain gorillas, these are populations that are separated by human habituation and it’s also possible these will never meet.
These mountain gorillas are also different from other gorilla subspecies. In the physical way, the mountain gorillas usually differ from other gorillas in having the longer hairs, teeth, smaller nose, larger jaws as well as the shorter arms.
It’s also known that all the gorillas are endangered, habitat loss which is brought about by agricultural expansion as well as logging has reduced the areas that are available to the gorillas. There is also hunting which is carried out for purposes of bush meat has also killed many gorillas, the gorillas are also known to be similar to human beings and are therefore susceptible to diseases which are spread from human to human. The western gorillas are also impacted by Ebola which is not spread by the humans. Gorillas are also known to invest a lot of time in their babies and each of their pregnancy is about 8.5 months, the female gorillas usually give birth once each and every 4-5 years.
These gorillas also depends on the conservation of the habitat places and the migration corridors which connects the populations. These also need to be protected from hunting for meat, being killed by the military and from being taken as pets. In case we want the gorilla around, they need our help in controlling Ebola and many other diseases. Since mountain gorillas have got small populations, each and every individual should be an important target for conservation.
Eco tourism is so promising in helping out in protecting the gorillas and their habitats. The practicals as well as the research experience have shown that when the local people realize a financial incentive to carry out conservation, they will protect the wild places as well as the animals. Since there are over 20000 people that visit volcanoes National park in Rwanda in a year, the conservation efforts might be a significant opportunity. This park also employs over 180 people directly and provides jobs to other 800 locals indirectly. All the tourists who visit will hire drivers, book ah hotel or have lunch at the restaurant. Even though, there is still too much room for improving the livelihood of the local residents, Eco-tourism which is centered on the gorillas also provides much money to Rwanda as a country.
As I celebrated my birthday, am so excited to view these unique African Wildlife Icons and our own relatives. Though i visited the ones in Rwanda , i have heard its good to compare Uganda and Rwanda to decide the best option for you. However, my worry is whether my kids will get a chance to track these primates at my own age. Another question might be, will the gorillas be still existing by then or they be only in movies and books to be read about in the museums? Therefore conservationists needs to be encouraged in order to maintain the numbers of the mountain gorillas.