Uganda

Rafiki: Slain silverback is the hero of mountain gorilla tourism in Uganda

As the leader of the Nkuringo mountain gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rafiki was the gentle giant who protected his family of 17. He was speared and killed in an act of self-defense after accosting four poachers. They were in the park illegally to hunt bush pig, according to the official statement released on June 12, 2020 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Stolen, lost, and broken: mismanaged evidence sets wildlife criminals free

The illegal trafficking of protected African wildlife species can take various gory forms across the continent. Wildlife management authorities and investigators often discover concealed elephant tusks still dripping with blood or even pieces of flesh and hides, but they are also likely to find crocodile eggs or pangolin scales. The contraband counts as evidence, as do the tools and weapons found at the crime scene, which can range from handmade bows and arrows to AK47s.

Reason #67 to get involved

Already vulnerable to a number of natural predators, the kudu now faces loss of habitat due to habitat destruction and poaching. When you support African Wildlife Foundation, you support local communities’ efforts to protect wildlife habitats.

Reason #70 to get involved

AWF protects nearly 40 % of Africa's elephants. Support our programs to stop elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.

Detection dogs help Uganda double down on illegal traffickers

Ground up. Hidden in coffee. Disguised. There is no limit to the tactics wildlife traffickers will use when they are attempting to sneak through wildlife contraband. But there is no fooling a dog’s nose. No matter how hard smugglers try to hide their contraband, African Wildlife Foundation’s highly trained canine detection dogs will sniff out wildlife products. In fact, it takes only 10-12 seconds for one dog to inspect a vehicle and signal to their handler where the contraband is concealed.

Mountain Gorilla Rangers

Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas exist today.

Mountain gorillas remain exceedingly endangered and live in only one area—the Virunga Heartland. This landscape spans the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda and is often threatened by civil unrest and violence. As a result, gorillas face threats from not only poaching, habitat loss, and fractured populations, but also from residual upheaval from human conflicts. 

Uganda Tourism for Biodiversity

Uganda has a wide range of tourism assets. 

Uganda boasts a wealth of biodiversity that could easily be used for tourism purposes. Uganda’s economy today relies primarily on commodities produced through small-scale agriculture, however. Despite the economic potential of tourism in Uganda’s parks and protected areas, many of the rural communities that surround those natural areas lack the capacity and resources to benefit from tourism.

Student Gorilla Trek

Wildlife permits are too expensive for native Rwandans. 

Despite living so close to the magnificent mountain gorilla, many Rwandans lack the ability to fully engage with and experience the world around them. The high price of a permit (US$35, now US$50) prevents many from being able to see the mountain gorillas that live exclusively in Central Africa. As a result, only tourists see the majesty of local protected areas. 

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Mountain gorillas are still under threat.

Even though the mountain gorilla population in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is growing, the species remains endangered. Poaching, habitat loss, and human–wildlife conflict threaten to halt the progress of this species. 

Gorilla lodge makes tourism a win–win. 

Officially opened in the spring of 2008, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is located just outside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.