The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is carrying out a population census of the endangered mountain gorillas in the Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks to establish their actual number for proper conservation plans.
The IGCP country representative in Uganda, Mr Stephen Asuma, said the census started this month and is expected to end by October 20. The census was last held in 2006 where only 340 gorillas were counted and registered and the total world gorilla population then was 786.
"We expect the numbers in Uganda to have increased by 26 per cent as projected in the 2006 population census. Research has established that a lot of exposure of the mountain gorillas to human beings can lead to their extinction since they have a poor immunity system that easily contracts human diseases," Mr Asuma said.
He added that there was need for funding from the Ugandan government for proper and timely advertising of the mountain gorilla tourism for more awareness locally and internationally to raise a lot of foreign exchange. Tourists currently pay $500 (Shs1.4m)to watch a mountain gorilla per hour in Uganda.