After a month of mourning for the eight tourists and the park warden killed by Rwandan rebels in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, authorities reopened the Ugandan park to visitors Apr. 1.
The Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) declared the area safe after security measures were improved. A spokesman also said the government is committed to conserving the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit Bwindi.
Armed guards protected the 12 foreigners, including three Americans, who were the first tourists to visit Bwindi since the Mar. 1 attack by Rwandan rebels.
Meanwhile, park rangers have been tracking the gorillas to be sure they are unharmed. "The forest is a very good area for the rebels to hide, but it is also the only home to the mountain gorillas," Annette Lanjouw, AWF's regional coordinator for the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), told Reuters news service. She said the gorillas could be harmed in attempts to flush the rebels out of the forest.
The IGCP, which is jointly sponsored by AWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna and Flora International, is continuing its work in Bwindi to safeguard the mountain gorillas.
The IGCP is also working in Rwanda's Volcano National Park, which, according to the program's field staff, will reopen soon for mountain-gorilla viewing. The park was closed to tourists two years ago because of instability caused by rebel activity in the area.
1100 New Jersey Ave SE, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20003, USA
General Media Inquiries
Director, Media Relations & Advocacy
Tel +254 720 947612
United States, Europe
Media Relations Manager
Tel +1 202 991 7501
Senior Communications & Advocacy Officer
Tel +254 722 890551
4:00pm May 19th
12:00pm May 19th
8:00am May 19th
7:00am May 19th
8:00pm May 18th
6:00pm May 18th
4:00pm May 18th
1:01pm May 18th
11:01am May 18th
9:30am May 18th