Gorillas moving out of Bwindi National Park

August 4th, 2009 | by Nick |

Uganda’s New Vision reports here on the problems with the success of mountain gorilla conservation and tourism in the Bwindi National Park. The gorillas are straying from protected areas to forage on farmland.”Instead of feeding our children, we are feeding gorillas” says Carol Asiimwe, an affected farmer. Dr. Arthur Mugisha of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme believes the heart of the problem lies in the overgrowth of trees which are no longer logged. In the past, removing some trees created space for the growth of certain species of vegetation that provide food. Now the gorillas have less to eat since there are more trees and fewer shrubs. The park may try selctive clearing as a solution. Another possibility lies in the use of elephants, as is shown in another park in Uganda, where elephants regularly knock down trees allowing shrubs to grow, thereby give the gorillas more to eat. This is a reminder that thick forest is not always more diverse and biologically diverse than thinned out forest.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda.

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The park has about 340 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased from 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, Wikipedia

See also

Blomley, Tom (2003). “Natural resource conflict management: the case of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, southwestern Uganda

  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest represents one of the oldest (50 million years), most complex and biologically rich systems on earth. In addition to its biodiversity¬† value, Bwindi also has a significant regulatory function on local climate and acts as an important water catchment area. Previously designated as a forest reserve, with relatively liberal (and rarely enforced) regulations regarding access rights, it was accorded higher protection status in 1991 as a national park, in recognition of its high levels of biodiversity and the perceived threats to its long-term integrity. The new national park was renamed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). This had the immediate effect of closing all access to the forest for adjacent communities, resulting in huge amounts of conflict and resentment.
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