This is how Rwanda Familiarization trip happened. “It’s my first time in Africa and in…
Endangered Mountain Gorilla Numbers Rise Over 1000. The number of mountain gorillas in the wild is growing, with the latest census counting over 1,000 gorillas, an increase from 800 from previous census.
The count revealed 604 mountain gorillas living in trans-boundary Virunga Massif in the Virunga Mountains, a vast area that covers three countries; Rwanda, DR Congo and Uganda, a rise from the previously counted 480. The remaining live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, with the 2018 Bwindi-Sarambwe mountain gorilla survey finding a minimum of 459 mountain gorillas in the regions, an increase from the previous survey estimate in 2011 of 400.
This brings the total world population of endangered mountain gorillas to 1,063, a figure attributed to the effectiveness of conservation policies and strategies, including regulated tourism, daily protection and veterinary interventions, intensive law enforcement, community conservation projects, and transboundary collaboration.
Conservation initiatives and efforts are increasingly attracting support locally and from around the world. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame applauded conservationists for their role in the population growth of the mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif, posting on twitter “Encouraging to see the mountain gorilla population in the Virungas has grown 25% in the last eight years. Conservation efforts must continue.” Endangered Mountain Gorilla Numbers Rise Over 1000 due to conservation efforts from many players.
American television personality, Ellen DeGeneres, joined the conservation efforts visited Rwanda where she will soon set up a facility, dubbed The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, to help protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains. The centre is a birthday gift Ellen received from her long-term partner, Portia De Rossi.
After trekking up the Virunga mountains, Ellen shared a video of her experience, noting that spending time with these gorillas “changed my life. Thank you to everyone who is helping Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund @SavingGorillas and EDWF save them. You can get involved here. http://ellendegenereswildlifefund.org -ED.”
Spending time with these gorillas changed my life. Thank you to everyone who is helping Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund @SavingGorillas and EDWF save them. You can get involved here. https://t.co/j3gffqkJr9 -ED pic.twitter.com/rk5ZqDTScR
— The Ellen Fund (@TheEllenFund) May 30, 2018
Putting the plight of mountain gorillas on a world stage has aided in the interest to visit the region and ultimately a boost to tourism for these countries.
Heritage Safaris, Managing Partner and Board Secretary to the Rwanda Tourism and Travel Association (RTTA), Sifa Uwera, said “with the rising numbers of gorilla population in the Virunga-Volcanoes-Bwindi Parks, we can expect revenues to increase in tandem. We can also expect revenues to ultimately increase contributions to the GDP and country economies that directly benefit from gorilla tourism (Rwanda- Uganda-DRC”
The 2018 Bwindi-Sarambwe census was conducted by the Protected Area Authorities in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Uganda Wildlife Authority and l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) under the transboundary framework of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration.
It was supported by the Rwanda Development Board, International Gorilla Conservation Programme (a coalition of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and WWF), Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit of the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Gorilla Doctors, Conservation Through Public Health, Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda Country Office, WWF Uganda Country Office, and Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust.
Funding for the census came from Fauna & Flora International, WWF, and Partners in Conservation at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.