Bwindi Impenetrable national park is located in South Western Uganda occupying 331 sq km. It lies on the edge of the Western Rift valley (Albertine rift) and is shared by Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro districts. The park occupies different vegetation zones but predominantly a tropical rain forest. This ancient rain forest is one of the few remaining forests in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age.
Bwindi is home to the great giant apes the gorilla and is the most visited park in Uganda. These apes are identified to be endangered and are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Half of the gorillas’ population is found in Uganda and they are known to be humble and gentle primates. You can track gorillas both in Uganda and Rwanda. Apart from the rare mountain gorillas, the park also has over 120 other mammalian species including 11 primates, 200 species of butterflies and about 324 different tree species. These primates include the black-and-white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, L’Hoest Monkey, Red Tailed monkeys among others. The forest is also rich in birdlife (360 species) with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics being present in the park. Among the notable bird species include the Short-tailed Warbler, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler Kivu Ground Thrush, among others. These birds cannot be easily cited anywhere in East Africa.
CONSERVATION OF MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN BWINDI
One of the world’s most threatened primates have started multiplying in number in some parts of their location. Bwindi is one of the areas that the gorillas have increased in number, adding from 300 to close to 350 individuals of the gorillas. This was according to the recent census carried out in the Bwindi impenetrable forest with the help of the authority and the locals.
A 12%increase of growth in numbers is a clear indication that the wildlife conservation programs being implemented in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is by far the chief destination of bird watchers and gorilla trekkers are fruitful. This increase in number provides a fruitful foundation that the world’s mountain gorillas that are now about 700 individual, will record a reasonable increase time to come.
In the period of the 1970s and 1980s characterized by a lot of civil wars in the East African Region, these amazing apes and other primates were hunted down for game meat which factor contributed to the gorillas being almost extinct in their natural habitats in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo Though a promising increase in number to about 720 is promising of which, Uganda has over half of the now remaining rare gorillas.
A census carried out in the dense Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in 2006 established a remarkable increase in the gorilla groups to 30 from the 28 that existed in 1997 of which the number of gorillas in each group varied from 3 to 28 individuals, though a diversity of conservation groups identified a total of about 11 solitary males who have not yet found families
MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING GROUPS
Five of the 30 gorilla groups are habituated of which only 4 are up for tourism purposes. The 5 habituated groups have an outstanding total of about 76 individuals of the mountain gorillas that consists of about 23% of the total gorilla population in the entire park. Based on a remarkable increase in the gorilla population and health in Bwindi Impenetrable National park, 2 gorilla families/groups have been habituated in Rushaga and Ruhija so as to boost tourism revenue and the increase demand for gorilla tourism from the general public.