Uganda Pleads With Rwanda On Gorillas

Kampala — UGANDA is proposing to Rwanda to allow her tourists to view a renegade group of gorillas that crossed from the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park into Rwanda about a year ago.

This is contained in a draft memorandum to be approved later this year once negotiations over the gorillas that cross the border depending to seasons and food.

The 11 gorillas led by an alpha male called Nyakagezi, crossed to Rwanda causing the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to suspend gorilla tourism in the park.

UWA's Damiano Akankwasa told The New Vision that the Nyakagezi group is on top of the agenda of the meetings for the wildlife authorities in both countries.

"There is a draft of the memorandum of understanding and we expect to conclude it soon," said Akankwasa, adding that wildlife authorities meet every three months to discuss outstanding issues.

Gorilla tourism earns Uganda the largest share of revenue, part of which is used to fund activities that have low visitor numbers and revenue.

UWA is also turning to golden monkeys as a unique attraction that could also complement gorilla tourism.

Akankwasa said the golden monkeys had been taken through habituation, a process through which wild gorillas get used to human presence without losing their wild character.

The gorillas are categorised as endangered animals and only a population of 760 lives in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

Bwindi park harbours half of the gorilla population and the remainder roam the virunga ranges shared by the three countries.

Akankwasa said Mgahinga forms a small part of the virunga ranges and the Nyakagezi group has been crossing to Rwanda and DRC and that only this time it has overstayed in Rwanda.

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