The emerald hillsides at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are a Mecca for wildlife enthusiasts who flock to the remote corner of southwestern Uganda for one thing, Gorillas! The forest is home to an estimated 400 mountain gorillas which roughly half of the world’s total population of gorillas, including several gorilla families that have become used to human presence.
Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the only countries in the world where you can see the gentle mountain gorillas. This privilege of Uganda gorilla trekking comes at a price and tourists have to purchase a gorilla trekking permit before embarking on this amazing trek through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Tourists say they are willing to pay money for the gorilla trekking permits because they are aware that a large percentage of this money would be invested in preservation of the Uganda gorilla species.
Threats to the Uganda gorillas were once thought to be so severe that these primate species would become extinct by the end of the 20th century. But the population of these Uganda gorillas has increased over the past 3 decades largely due to improved conservation efforts.
Gorillas are not the only ones benefiting, tourism revenue has boosted the economy of local communities that surround Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). In addition to hotels, lodges, souvenir shops and jobs in the park, communities also receive 20% of the entry fees and $5 per Uganda gorilla trekking license.
The communities are major stakeholders in the tourism business here. They have lived with these Uganda gorillas for ages even before the gorilla conservation started. Some of these people look at Bwindi Forest as a place where they used to get resources such as firewood and local medicine.
This is why the authorities think it is very important for them to work together with the communities to sensitize them about the importance of conserving Uganda’s gorillas.(Uganda, The Pearl of Africa)