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Baby Mountain Gorilla Born in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Baby Mountain Gorilla Born in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

On 4th January 2021, an adult female one Nderema, a member of the Nkuringo gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park gave birth to a bouncing baby mountain gorilla. Nkuringo group is one of the many gorilla trekking families found in Nkuringo sector in the south of of Bwindi National Park. Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the only two gorilla parks in Uganda. Other gorilla parks in the region include Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in the DR Congo.

This baby is an addition to many gorilla babies that have been born in Bwindi forest over a period of time. In the course of 2020, the gorilla fraternity went into a mountain gorilla baby boom that saw an increase in the number of the endangered primates in Uganda.

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Twin Baby Gorillas Born in Virunga National Park

Twin Baby Gorillas Born in Virunga National Park

Baby Gorillas Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park authorities have announced the birth of twin baby gorillas, a development that has increased the number of primates in the wildlife reserve.
“We’re excited to announce that Gato from the Nyakamwe family has just given birth to twins!,” read the Tweet message from the official Twitter Account of the Virunga National Park on 22nd September 2020.
Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area.

The Virunga park has over the months recieved baby gorillas and thanks to the strong conservation efforts by different stakeholders locally and globally.

Despite long periods of civil unrest in the region where mountain gorillas live, conservation efforts have achieved success out of their campaign. Discoveries indicate that gorilla populations in the Virunga Massif have grown to 604 individuals up from 480 individuals in 2010 putting the total global population to over 1,000 individuals.

Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area. The park provide a haven for threatened wildlife including mountain gorillas. Many other vulnerable and endangered species dwell within the park’s precincts such as elephants plus several threatened species including the hippos.

Gorilla trekking is the major tour activity in the gigantic park found in the eastern side of the country. Other activities in the park also include chimpanzee habituation, nature walks, Mount Nyiragongo hiking and landscape viewing among others. Gorilla tours in Congo usually begin from Kigali in Rwanda and include packages of 2, 3 and 4 days. Other places to find mountain gorillas in Africa include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. These endangered primates are inhabit the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Gorilla tourism at large is a major factor that has made mountain gorillas given attention by humanity.

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Uganda in a Baby Mountain Gorilla Boom

Uganda Baby Gorillas’ Boom

Since the year 2020 began, Uganda so far has recorded a baby boom among mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

According to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), five babies have been born in a period of six weeks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of East Africa’s most prized tourism assets. Bwindi National Park is located near Uganda’s south western border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

The latest, born in the last weekend of August, bringing the total born this year to seven compared to only three that were born last year. The baby gorillas were born in same Rushegura gorilla family which has greatly increased members of the group found in Buhoma sector in the north of Bwindi. Other gorilla sectors of  Bwindi include Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector.

The baby gorillas have brought excitement to the conservationists whose efforts are mainly geared towards protecting the endangered primates that were declared two years ago from being critically endangered to endangered only.

“This is highly unusual, it’s an incredible blessing. As conservationists we are chest-thumping, we are excited,” said Bashir Hangi, the spokesman for UWA.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s major sources of revenue, with visitors flocking to its national parks across vast savannah expanses to see elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos and other big game.

A 320 square kilometer patch of dense tropical forest, Bwindi is home to a range of animals including primates, elephants, antelopes and other wildlife.

The “impenetrable” in its name alludes to the dense tropical forest that covers much of the park. Tourists are mostly drawn to the park by its estimated 500 mountain gorillas, assumed to be half of the world’s gorilla population.

Whenever baby gorillas are born, it gives hope to gorilla tourism in the country. Gorilla trekking in Uganda done in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park contributes the biggest percentage to tourism earnings.

Hangi said that the baby boom was testimony that the country’s conservation efforts were yielding results despite some reported cases of poaching and other threats to wildlife.

In July this year, a court sentenced a man to 11 years in prison for killing a 25-year-old Silverback gorilla named Rafiki, who was a leader of Nkuringo group, one of the gorilla families of Nkuringo sector in the south of Bwindi forest.

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Bwindi Mountain Gorillas Increase in Numbers

Bwindi Mountain Gorillas Increase in Numbers – There is a General Rise in World Gorilla Populations

mountain gorillas

The endangered Bwindi Mountain gorillas have increased in numbers, thanks to the conservation efforts by the various wildlife stakeholders. According to the latest data, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has seen its gorilla numbers rise from 400 in 2011 to 459 gorillas todate.

The good news of the surge in numbers of the endangered primate species was revealed by the outgoing Uganda Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof. Ephrahim Kamuntu, this week. This was at a function to unveil the mountain gorilla populations in the Greater Virunga Conservation Area. At the event, the long-awaited global numbers of the endangered gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo were realesed showing a steady growth in the gorilla demographics.

In the whole world, mountain gorillas only live in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. You can also trek gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.

The data release was presented in collaboration with the Greater Virunga Trans boundary and Bwindi-Sarambwe Ecosystem manifested that the number of gorillas (gorilla beringei)  in the 340 square kilometer boundary of protected forest to have gone up to 459 in 50 groups and 13 from about 400 in 2011.

Putting together the published outcome of the Virunga Mastiff 2015/16 Survey of 604, the worldwide mountain gorilla numbers are 1,063 at the present. Uganda’s gorillas that dwell in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park now stand at about 51% of the total numbers of the worldwide endangered species with an estimated 49% shared between Rwanda and Congo.

Joseph Arinitwe, the Warden of the Ecological Monitoring and Research Bwindi-Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) said that the process began from the eastern edge of the forest to Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the western side.

It entailed over 75 trained survey members in 6 teams in 250 to 500-meter stretches with the support of local governments and communities near the protected zones. They moved at standard intervals at agreed times in shifts of 2 weeks each gathering elephants, duikers plus gorillas fecal matter from fresh nests where the samples were put together and kept for genetic analysis.  Indicators of human activity were also studied. The team persevered through challenging rugged terrain, floods, twigs, and insect bites.

Arinitwe asserted that the surveys were vital in monitoring trends and confirm that indeed conservation strategies are effective.

Dr. Pantaleon Kasoma who spoke on behalf of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board of Trustee emphasized the value of gorilla revenues which he said was higher compared to other segments of the tourism sector.

The State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda applauded Prof. Kamuntu for his attempts to turn around Human Wildlife Conflict into Human Wildlife Relationship by moving around Uganda to educate communities surrounding the National Parks and Wildlife corridors plus revenue sharing.

Kamuntu welcomed the new Tourism Minister Tom Butime. The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Kazuaki Kameda, Permanent Secretary MTWA Doreen Katusime; Director of Tourism James Lutalo, Dr. Andrew Seguya, Executive Secretary at Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration, Dr. Gladys Kalema, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Executive Director UWA, Sam Mwanda, Director of Business Services UWA, Stephen Masaba, Professor Robert Bitariho of Mbarara University plus members from the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) and researchers were in attendance.

Kamuntu lauded international organizations for putting gorillas to the attention of humanity. He said if it wasn’t their efforts, the gorillas would have been wiped out. The credited bodies include International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC). Others included the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) and the gorilla Doctors among others.

Kamuntu said the increase in the gorilla numbers and wildlife in general was an indicator of a positive path to development surpassing pre-independence numbers.

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Trek Gorillas in Uganda before the Permit Price Increase

Trek Gorillas in Uganda before the Permit Price Increase in July 2020

Gorilla Trekking UgandaStarting July 2020, a Uganda gorilla permit will be sold at USD 700 up from the current USD 600. But the good news is, you can book a permit to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park before the price increase next year. Booking a gorilla permit before July 2020 means you are set to save USD 100 on the permit.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recently announced that it would increase the gorilla permit price from USD 600 to 700 in a move to strengthen conservation efforts around the gorilla parks.

When you make a gorilla tour booking with Speedway Safaris, we only require you to deposit USD 600 for a permit and pay the balance a week to the commencement of the safari. It means any planned trip booking for now and July 2020, you will only pay six hundred United Sates dollars only.

In 2017, Rwanda increased its gorilla permit from USD 750 then to USD 1500, a price it has maintained up to now. This increase scared away many gorilla tourists from the Volcanoes National Park to Uganda, as the cheapest gorilla trekking destination in the region.

Uganda has 20 gorilla families available for tracking daily, 19 of whom are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south western Uganda.  Each gorilla group is allowed 8 permits per day and these are 8 visitors for every family. Bwindi, the biggest gorilla park in Uganda has 4 gorilla trekking sectors under which the endangered primates are visited. These comprise of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi. Under every region, there are gorilla families with Rushaga sector in the south having the biggest number of gorillas and families.

Early Gorilla Permit Booking

At Speedway safaris, we always advise our prospective clients to make early gorilla permit bookings to avoid disappointments from no available permit for their preferred dates. It is recommended that you buy a gorilla permit 6 months or minimum 4 months to the trekking dates. Uganda gorilla permits are very competitive and sold on first come first serve basis. Months from June to October and December to February are very competitive month that anyone planning a safari should consider booking their permits many months in advance.

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Baby Gorilla Born in Mubare Group in Buhoma

Baby Gorilla Born in Mubare Group in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi

Mubare Gorilla Family in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi forest has welcomed a new born baby mountain gorillas in Uganda. Mubare group is one the gorilla trekking families found in Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park are the two wildlife reserves where gorillas in Uganda live.Gorilla Born in Mubare

The birth of a new baby gorilla is great news to gorilla tourism which is the biggest income earner for Uganda in the tourism industry. Gorilla conservation efforts are all geared towards the protection, survival and continuity of the endangered Mountain gorillas in the wild.

The baby was born to Businza one of the female adults in Mubare family on 16th October 2019. The wardens of Bwindi Impenetrable forest spread the news of the new born. They found Bussinza with her little one during one of their daily checks on the gorilla families in Bwindi jungle. Peter Mbebwe, the warden in Bwindi confirmed the news and asserted that both mother and baby were fine.

“We celebrate a newborn in Mubare gorilla family, one of the groups in Buhoma region. Mother Businza and baby are in good health,” Mbebwe said.

Tourism stakeholders especially tour operators and conservationists welcomed the news with maximum joy and happiness. There is no doubt that the newborn has increased the number of mountain gorillas in the world by one member.

Kiganda Ssonko, the Managing Director for Speedway Safaris had this to say with utmost joy and enthusiasm.

Any birth by a mountain gorilla counts so much. The primate species are listed as endangered because they are prone to extinction. Anny new addition to their population has to be celebrated with joy. The continuity of any living organism is the coming of infants who now guarantee that the future generation is assured. The creation of gorilla families for tourism purposes in based on numbers at time and when such figures increase, we know that gorilla tourism in Uganda in safe and sustainable,” Kiganda observed.

The increase in the number of gorillas in Uganda is attributed to the joint efforts by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourism Board, the government of Uganda, international bodies, Ugandans especially the neighbors to the gorilla parks and environmentalists at large. In the recent months, the mountain gorilla status changed from being critically endangered to merely Endangered, a conversion that gives hope to the giant species that their plight is improving. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list as well as the 2018 gorilla census which showed that the Virunga conservation area had an increase in the gorilla numbers from 880 to 1004.

About Mubare Gorilla Family

Mubare group is found in Buhoma sector in the north of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This is the oldest gorilla family in Uganda and was habituated in 1991, then availed for trekking in 1993, roughly after 24 months of habituation by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Mubare was named after the many stones locally known as “Amabare” in Rukiga language. This was first seen at a place with several stones and then after named after it. Mubare family lives a short distance from Buhoma Park offices and this makes it the most tracked gorilla group in Buhoma region. On some occasions, the group is spotted at the banks of Mubare River, a water body that flows via Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Accessing Buhoma Sector

Buhoma sector is found in the north of Bwindi forest and is effortlessly accessible from Kabale town via Kihihi. Alternatively, you can fly from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi airstrip in Kanungu district and then after connect to Buhoma area. From Queen Elizabeth National Park, Buhoma is the nearest gorilla trekking region than any other. This means that if you are doing wildlife safaris in the park and plan to add on gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest, the best area in Buhoma. Buhoma and Ruhija sectors in the eastern side of the park are the most accessible areas than Nkuringo and Rushaga in the south of Bwindi which far and only ideal for gorilla trekking in Uganda from Rwanda. And when you are driving from Kampala, Buhoma region and Ruhija are nearer than the regions in the south.

Other Gorilla Families in Buhoma Sector

Besides Mubare group where a new gorilla was born, Buhoma region has other gorilla trekking families which include Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Group and Katwe Gorilla Group at the moment.

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