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Uganda hosts over 400 mountain gorillas

By Chris Agwokotho Odubi

The population of the gorillas  in Bwindi Impenetrable  National Park  is at a  minimum of  400 according to the current census  by the Uganda  Wild Life Authority,  International  Gorilla Conservation Program(IGCP), Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in DRC  and RDB in Rwanda.

The results show that there are 36 gorilla families in Bwindi, and 16 solitary males, of the 36 families; ten are habituated for tourism and research.

In 2011,   world’s population of mountain gorillas in Virunga Massif and Bwindi was   880.  A census carried out in 2010 showed that there were 480 mountain gorillas in Virunga Massif that comprises Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) and Virunga National Park (DRC).

Bwindi park is entirely in Uganda has 400 of these gorillas up from 320 in 2002 and 340 in 2006.

This means, to Maria Mutagamba, minister of tourism wildlife and antiquities that Uganda is host to more than half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

She was speaking at Media centre to launch the mountain gorilla population census in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park this week.

“The increase in the population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is testimony to the sound natural resource management policies that are being implemented in the protected areas,” she said.

Scientifically referred to as Gorilla beringei beringei, mountain gorillas live in families headed by a silverback which is the dominant male. Where there is more than one silverback in a family, it may split to form new entities.

Dr. Andrew Seguya, acting Executive Director UWA said,” Gorillas are better at family planning  than humans. They produce after four years.”

Seguya said gorillas in case of instability in DRC and Rwanda, seek refuge in Bwindi.

The park is one of the most tourism destinations in Africa and also a UNESCO World Heritage site

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