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Gorillas return to Uganda
13 January 2010

A family of mountain gorillas has returned to Uganda after more than a year over the border in Rwanda.

The Nyakagezi group lives in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the far south of Uganda, and first crossed to neighbouring Rwanda in 2005. For three years the family moved backwards and forwards across the border.

However, when the group went to Rwanda in November 2008, they did not return for more than a year. When the Nyakagezi family left there were seven individuals, but after the births of two babies there are now nine. The family consists of three silverback males, including the former leader Bigingo aged around 50, and his son Mark who deposed him to become the group leader. Mark is the father of the two new infants.

For the past year Uganda has not received any revenue from gorilla permits in Mgahinga, and tourists have instead been encouraged to visit the park to see golden monkeys, Batwa caves and to trek on mountain trails.

Local communities surrounding the National Park are welcoming the return of the gorillas as it means they will have more diverse opportunities for income. Young men in particular have missed out on employment opportunities from working as porters and local guides for tourists going gorilla tracking.

Gorilla tracking permits are being sold again, but only the day before as it’s not known if the family will remain in Uganda long-term. Rangers in Mgahinga will continue to monitor the group.

 

 

for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org