Gorilla tourism is a sustainable operation which benefits the local communities adjacent gorilla destinations in Africa. Currently, there are fewer than 1004 mountain gorillas left on earth and they are all confined within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in the Northern Province of Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Gorilla tourism is sustainable in that trekkers on gorilla treks require gorilla permit for you to be assigned to habituated family. Each gorilla destination has its set rates for gorilla permits and in Uganda, you need $600 to secure a permit for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents. However, the rates for gorilla permits in Uganda are due to change to $700, $600 and shs.250000 respectively by 2020.

Remarkably, part of the revenue collected from gorilla permits is given back to the local communities to facilitate various initiatives. In Uganda, 20% goes to the local community as part of the revenue sharing scheme and in Rwanda, 10%. Among other projects financed include provision of clean water, construction of hospitals, schools, goat rearing, bee keeping to mention but a few. In the long run, these projects benefit local residents significantly

In a bid to regulate gorilla trekking adventure, respective gorilla destinations have a set of safety measures that every trekker is required to observe while with these unique creatures in the wild. They include among others; maintaining a distance of 7 meters away from gorillas, only one is given to visitors to have a face to face encounter with gorillas, visitors should keep their voices low while on trek, only persons above 15 years are considered eligible for gorilla trekking, no trekking these apes in case you are sick, in case of cough you are advised to cover your mouse and in case of sneezing, cover your nose, no flashlight camera is permitted when taking pictures of these great apes. These guidelines have played a significant role in boosting gorilla numbers since they are protected from health implications brought by human infectious diseases.

Gorilla tourism is sustainable the fact that gorilla destinations introduced gorilla permits which come at a cost for intending visitor to take part in gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo. In Uganda, you can obtain gorilla permit at $600 although this rate will change to $700 by 2020; in Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1500 per person and in the DR Congo, permits are obtainable at $400. Each permit allows you to trek only one habituated family in a group of 8 visitors.

Part of the revenue collected from gorilla permits is used to fund different activities including gorilla doctors who tirelessly work to ensure the health of these creatures is okay, park rangers who also work to protect them from poachers, sensitization and education programs to create awareness among the local community members such that they embrace gorilla tourism and conservation.

The new developments at gorilla destinations, especially gorilla lodges are done after conducting environmental assessment. Sustainable practices have also been adopted for instance organic farming, efficient waste management, sanitation, solar energy to mention but a few.

There are many local residents that have also been employed through gorilla tourism. They are employed as community tourism guides, porters, craft market owners, park rangers, park officials and many more. This is one way to make them embrace gorilla tourism and conservation.

In conclusion, gorilla tourism in Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo is sustainable due to numerous practices that have been put in place.

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