Bwindi National Park, Uganda


The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse, mountainous area in southwest Uganda. It's home to many of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, who feed on roots, leaves and fruits from the park’s many tree and fern species. Restricted numbers of viewing permits help protect the endangered gorilla families. In the park, rough paths weave amid dense forests, which are home to many butterflies and birds

The park is inhabited by about 340 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world.The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006.Disease and habitat loss are the greatest threat to the gorillas. Poaching is also a threat.

Research on the Bwindi population lags behind that of the Virunga National Park population, but some preliminary research on the Bwindi gorilla population has been carried out by Craig Stanford. This research has shown that the Bwindi gorilla's diet is markedly higher in fruit than that of the Virunga population, and that the Bwindi gorillas, even silverbacks, are more likely to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, the Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees. It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel farther per day than Virunga gorillas, particularly on days when feeding primarily on fruit than when they are feeding on fibrous foods. Additionally, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in Alchornea floribunda (locally, "Echizogwa"), a small understory tree.

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, with an estimated total population of about 650 individuals. There are no mountain gorillas in captivity. In the 1960s and 1970s, mountain gorillas were captured to begin a population of them in captive facilities. No baby gorillas survived in captivity and no mountain gorillas are known of that are currently in captivity

Tourists may visit the park any time during the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season. The park is in a remote location, and the roads are in poor condition.Tourist accommodations include a lodge, tented camps, and rooms run by the community located near the Buhoma entrance gate

 
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