Are you a conservationist, primatologist or zoologist and you are wondering how you will contribute towards gorilla protection? Mountain gorillas are listed among the most critically endangered apes in the world. They are highly threatened wildlife species however; there are several ways that you can help save their lives from getting extinct in the wild. These rare primates are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Gorilla conservation isn’t only about protecting mountain gorillas and it also helps save lives of other wildlife species which all impact on tourism sector. Some of them include;
1. Purchase a permit to track mountain gorillas
Gorilla tourism has remarkably boosted mountain gorilla conservation otherwise they would have disappeared by now. Mountain gorillas are only tracked in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and lastly in the Virunga National Park eastern DRC. Each country sells trekking permits at a different cost. Uganda, you can obtain one at $600 per visitor, Rwanda at $1500 and DRC at $450. By purchasing gorilla trekking permit in any of the countries, you would have supported conservation of gorillas and other wildlife species as well as their habitat as part of money that is got from permits is used to facilitate most of the conservation activities.
2. Spread more information about gorilla conservation
If you are in USA, you can mobilize more support and offer to conservation organizations involved in saving the lives of these critically endangered apes in the wild especially the Great Ape Conservation Fund or Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. You can disseminate information about the significance of protecting these apes to most of the people so that they embrace conservation of these species in the wild. This can be done after you are done with your thrilling adventure.
3. Pledge or donate
There are several organizations that you can pledge or donate to help save lives of mountain gorillas. Around 2014, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network unveiled the gorilla friendly pledge initiative which aimed at creating awareness to reduce on the level at which human infectious diseases can be spread. You can pledge prior making a trip to any destination of your choice to trek mountain gorillas. Other organizations that you can donate to include the International Gorilla Conservation Programme which aims at promoting sustainable conservation of mountain gorillas and their habitats, The Great Apes Survival Partnership-GRASP and others.
4. Don’t purchase products made with wildlife parts
A fact that most of these apes have become the main target by poachers plus other wildlife species at the parks, higher chances are that you will find some of their body parts on market and as conservation enthusiast, we advise you not to purchase such items. You can report such incidents to nearest authorities or to organization in charge wildlife conservation and in Uganda-you can report to Uganda Wildlife Authority, in Rwanda-the Rwanda Development Board.
5. Share feedback
After your gorilla trekking adventure, it is important that you give feedback. This will help attract others based on your experience and you can share your experience with your colleagues on review website especially TripAdvisor. This will also aid park management in their daily monitoring activities.
6. Friend a gorilla
If you are a tourist, you are encouraged to engage in the Friend Gorilla campaign that is aimed at conserving these critically endangered apes. Uganda Wildlife Authority was set forth to protect wildlife and also sensitize and educate the world on benefits of protecting them in the wild. You can befriend a gorilla with only $1! When you become a friend with gorillas, you will be provided with up to date information on activities conducted in the forest via Facebook and twitter.