If you want to know the disadvantages of gorilla tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, do ask the Batwa people. Gorilla tourism has so many advantages such as conservation of the endangered apes, revenue from the sale of gorilla permit, creating employment and so much more. That notwithstanding, today we discuss the disadvantages of gorilla tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park so as to raise the dark side of this activity to the public. We absolutely agree that gorilla tourism is beneficial and should be promoted as long as most of the issues raised are taken care of.
When one talks about the disadvantages of gorilla tourism, he or she cannot run away from the Batwa issue. The Batwa normally referred to as the Pygmies used to stay in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest before it was gazatted as a national park to pave way for gorilla tourism to flourish. The pygmies were chased out of the forest without providing them with land to resettle. They were used to utilizing and harnessing forest resources for their survival but they could not do it anymore. Up to now majority of them have failed to settle down and the government has also failed to help them out. Because of this, the batwa community remains one of the most endangered ethnic group in Uganda and to them, gorilla tourism came with so many disadvantages on their side. Many None governmental Organizations have come up to support the batwa community inform of building for them homes, hospitals, schools and many of them are now going to school.
Before gorillas are visited by tourists, they must undergo habituation so that they get used to human beings. It takes 2-3 years for researchers to habituate a given gorilla family. Once this is done, mock visits are conducted before tourists are allowed to visit these gorillas. Once researchers are completely sure that the family is ready, they will open in for gorilla trekking. The disadvantages of gorilla tourism to mountain gorillas is that the more the number of times people interact with mountain gorillas, the more the chances of spreading diseases to them. In most cases, a distance of 7 meters is supposed to be maintained but my experience with the gorillas showed that, for them, they do not know this and they can easily come closer to human beings. Due to the fact that they are used to human beings, they tend to leave the forest and come to community land ending up by destroying crops and plantations. This put them in danger since the local people can easily harm them.
The good news is that most of the disadvantes of gorilla tourism are well known and all stakeholders have been working hand in hand to address them. We need to emphasize that the advantages of gorilla tourism out weight the disadvantages of gorilla tourism and as such gorilla tourism is one of the best things that is earning a lot of foreign exchange to the country of Uganda. For more information about gorilla trekking tour, please contact Encounter Africa Safaris.
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