In a moment of silence, while dreams of travel are at a standstill due to the terrible pandemic that befell the world, nature still gives a story of hope as it multiplies in bigger numbers awaiting to usher us into a remarkable new chapter of life.
A few weeks back, the Bwindi impenetrable forest of Uganda had the pleasure of welcoming two new baby Mountain Gorillas in the Nshongi Gorilla family (found in the southern sector of Bwindi called Rushaga) and the Muyambi Gorilla family (found in the northern sector of Bwindi called Buhoma which was the first sector to open up the first habituated Gorilla family, Mubare for the activity of Gorilla trekking in 1993).
The babies were born on April 25th and May 1st, 2020 respectively and are said to be well and healthy. The mothers of these infants still remain very protective of their little fragile ones and therefore it has still remained an impossibility to determine the sexes of the two infants by the rangers.
Mountain Gorillas on average conceive at the age of 10 and are able to carry 1 to 2 babies at a time. Gestation period, just like human beings is 9 months and Mountain Gorillas can bear 4 to 6 offspring in a lifetime. Newborns weigh an approximate of 4 pounds on average and they are very fragile at this stage. They will cling to their mum’s fur for warmth, protection and most importantly for nurturing. At this stage, you would indeed be very lucky to get past the mother’s ever so protective hand to get a sneak peek of the baby. I was very fortunate to get see the baby’s head and little hands back when i trekked the Mubare Family of Buhoma in 2017. It took some begging from me to the mother if you ask me, but I guess she heard my plea and allowed me to see her baby. So I count myself lucky.
Gorilla trekking and conservation
Gorilla trekking has had a great impact in aiding the conservation of these beautiful creatures and this is evidenced in 2018 when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reclassified Mountain Gorillas from “Critically endangered “to “Endangered”
The number of these fascinating creatures continues to grow thanks to the work of conservation. Uganda still remains with the upper hand in numbers, having over 50% of the world’s Mountain Gorilla population.
Gorilla trekking currently
At the moment with the Coronavirus pandemic, Gorilla trekking has been put on hold both for the protection of the tourists and even so for the protection of these endangered species as they are closely linked to the human DNA, they are just as vulnerable to COVID-19 as we are. Therefore, continuing with the activity of Gorilla trekking before effective measures are put in place to protect the mountain Gorillas will only defeat the strive for conservation.
The GOOD NEWS is, Gorilla trekking will thrive once more as one of the most thrilling adventures to ever undertake! So hold onto your dream because the Mountain Gorillas eagerly await to welcome you in their home, Bwindi impenetrable Forest to share with you in their world of magical moments that will forever linger in beautiful memories of a lifetime!