On Friday 15th May we celebrated the Endangered Species Day, to remind us again of the importance of protecting endangered animals and how to save them from extinction. One of the most endangered species in the world is the Mountain Gorilla, with only about 800 individuals remaining in the forests of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
What can YOU do to help us to protect them? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Track the Mountain Gorillas; a gorilla permit will not only give you a once in a lifetime experience, but you’re also providing a financial incentive for the gorilla’s protection.
2) Do not track when you are sick; gorillas are susceptible to many of the same infectious diseases that affect people, which may easily lead to death.
3) Keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas to reduce the risk of disease transmission and to avoid changing to disturbing the gorilla’s behaviour.
4) Support local businesses and communities near the national parks; the more the local people benefit from the tourism revenue, the more likely they will want to protect the gorillas as well.
5) Explore the area with other activities as well; don’t rush to come and track the gorillas and then leave. Take your time and spend one or two days extra to discover the beauty of the surroundings. After all, the revenue earned is a further incentive for the government and local communities to protect the habitat of the mountain gorillas.
6) Don’t buy products made with wild animal parts; gorillas often get caught in poachers’ snares set for other animals in the forest.
7) Donate to conservation organizations that help to protect the mountain gorillas, such as MGVP (Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Projects) or CTPH (Conservation Through Public Health).
8) Spread the word! Even if you can’t afford a visit to the mountain gorillas, you can make a difference by telling everyone the importance of conservation and protecting the endangered species.