Uganda Wildlife Authority last week concluded the Gorilla census. This is the 4th census conducted since Bwindi was gazetted as a national park. Results of the census are expected to come out next year after the genetic analysis is completed at a lab at the University of California in the US. The Census features along the Sarambwe Game Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo sanctuary for mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), which are threatened by the expansion of agriculture and deforestation: logging, charcoal burning, pit sawing, fishing and poaching with traps.
The survey was geared to assess the gorilla population in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Sarambwe Game Reserve as well as to easily record a documentation about Poaching threats and other illegal activities done with in these reserves, perhaps to easily find correct measures to the endagered species. The census also was a key point to collect records about the diverse mammals normally spotted in these jungles, the most seen were the elephants, bush pigs, the forest monkeys(known for golden monkey tracking Safari).
The census was funded by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, a global agency formed in 1991 to ensure that the critically endangered mountain gorillas are conserved in their habitat in the mountain forests of the Virunga Massif in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The programme grew out of the work of Dian Fossey, who began to study Rwandan mountain gorillas in the 1960s. ( Most travellers visit the Rwanda Gorillas with a short tour to hike and see the tomn of Dian Fossey- an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her 1985 murder.
Thw Uganda Wildlife Authority Gorilla census in Bwindi was concluded in on Friday with an event at the Uganda Wildlife Bwindi Mgahinga conservation area head offices in Kayonza sub county, Kanungu district as well as giving out certificates to those who participated in the exercise. Anna Behm Masozera, the Executive Director international gorilla conservation programme says through the effort 819 mountain gorilla fecal samples were collected from March to May 2018 and are being analyzed at the University of California in the United States and 973 fecal samples were collected from October to December 2018.
She says the team counted gorilla nests other than individual gorilla. The feces, she said will be used for generic analysis which, she said, provides the most accurate estimates. Masozera could not give projections for this year, saying the results would come out next year after the generic analysis is completed at a laboratory at University of California.
At the event, John Justice Tibesigwa the acting chief warden for Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area noted that the number of tourists tracking gorillas has increased from 1,313 in 1993 to 15,112 last year.
This number, he said has been growing annually save for 1999 when it dropped from 2,437 in 1998 to 2,111. This arose after the killing of eight foreign tourists by the Interahamwe rebels from the DRC. Since then, the Government has tightened security around the park.
This is the fourth gorilla census conducted since Bwindi was gazetted as a national park in 1991 and declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 1994. The Bwindi Park harbors is said to be home to half of the gorilla population and the remainder roams the Virunga ranges shared by the three countries.