There are about 880 mountain gorillas left in the world. Nearly half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of the central Africa, at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. Unlike the gorillas you find in the zoos, there are no mountain gorillas within the zoos and if you are to see them, you have to visit them in the wild on a gorilla safari in one of the 3 countries in Africa; Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire).
The Virunga National Park, the oldest park in Africa is one of the few places where travelers for gorilla tracking. For long travelers have traversed the parks of Bwindi Forest, Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Park to see the mountain gorillas. The Virunga Gorillas however have been less covered given a multitude of problems that have been existing in the region. The park has been sand witched between the 1994 Rwanda genocide and the brutal on going civil war in Congo, poaching and more problems. has become a battle ground for the militia groups and the Congolese army. In addition, severe poverty in the region also pushes the poachers into the park to hunt the gorillas for either meat or sale. The locals also generate the income by cutting down the trees to create the charcoal, nearly $ 30 million trade that the wreaks havoc on the critical habitat. The gorillas are so good to experience and they have brought in many people to enjoy gorilla tracking safaris to Uganda. Today the park sits within a conflict where several oil companies seek to start oil exploration operations within the park.
Today the virunga National Park is home to nearly 200 gorillas, and is now safe for gorilla tracking in Africa. These unique species have greatly attracted many gorilla tracking safaris which has increased the amount of revenues to the country. The volcanic slopes here are lush with the tropical forests and the diverse mammals, birds and the reptile species; these are also in the heart of a region in crisis. Many travelers have visited the gorillas within the park, and the success rate is over 90%. There are a few lodges where travelers can stay for a night but they are up to the standards that one need.
With the help of the dedicated wildlife rangers, comprehensive monitoring and the community education programs, these endangered gorilla population in the Virungas also experienced a nearly 20 % increase in the early 2000s. However in 2007, at least ten gorillas in the Virunga National Park were lost to murder and the chaos which took place. Also with the help of the dedicated wildlife rangers, comprehensive monitoring, and the community education programs, the endangered gorilla population in the Virungas also experienced a nearly 20 % increase in the early 2000s.
The gorillas in Virunga parks are also faring a bit better, as it is the other half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population, which also lives in Uganda’s bwindi Impenetrable National Park, just 15 miles north of the Virunga Mountains. These virunga gorillas have greatly contributed to high revenues to the country due to the increased gorilla safaris.