How to protect Bwindi gorillas from covid?
How to protect Bwindi gorillas from covid? A lot of scientists are fearing that the coronavirus might penetrate to Bwindi Impenetrable National park and harm mountain gorillas. The fact that they share 98% DNA with human beings they fear that the same way the virus is affecting the people is the same way it might affect the great apes. Park rangers, trackers and porters are being trained on how to protect themselves and the mountain gorillas from Covid.
How to protect Bwindi gorillas from covid?
Seeing endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats is one of the experiences one would love to have. Being around mountain gorillas in their natural habits helps one understand how these creatures behave like human beings and how they are connected to human beings. Once someone sees how fun it is to be around mountain gorillas then they can go further to look at ways they can protect them from covid 19.
Mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates that need to be protected for the important role they play in the country. Mountain gorillas attract lots of travelers from different parts of the world who come to see the creatures that are said to be close relatives to human beings. These tourists pay a certain amount of money to the government to see these apes which means they are a source of income.
Covid 19 is a very deadly virus that has killed millions of people across the world and the fact that these creatures share 98% DNA with human beings means that there are high chances of these apes getting the virus. If a single mountain gorilla gets a virus, it means most of the gorillas will get affected too because they live in groups and they keep rotating around the jungle.
We haven’t seen any news about mountain gorillas getting infected with covid even after scientists saying that this virus could be easily transferred from human beings to apes. Covid has not affected mountain gorillas because there are many measures that have been put in place to prevent the spread of this virus to the apes.
Measures that have been put in place to protect mountain gorillas from covid?
For any travelers to enter Uganda through Entebbe international airport or any country border, they must possess a covid 19 vaccination certificate and the must be checked for covid 19. If travelers are found out to be infected with covid 19 they be allowed into the jungle, they are put in special places for about 14 days where they get treatment from.
Travelers who have accessed the park already and show signs or symptoms of covid which include flu and cough are not allowed to trek mountain gorillas. They are asked to choose other Gorilla trekking dates or they are refunded part of the gorilla permit fee and this has helped to protect mountain gorillas from getting these diseases which can be transferred from one human being to another.
At the briefing centers in all park sectors, there are sections of water where trekkers must wash their hands with soap and clean water to kill the germs that could be on their bodies. Trekkers are always advised to move with their sanitizers so that they sanitize before entering the jungle. Trekkers are now days asked to carry masks with them into the jungle and wear them when they are around mountain gorillas and this has helped to reduce the spread of covid.
When the trekkers locate a mountain gorilla family, they are asked to keep social distance at least 7 meters away from these apes. This helps to reduce the spread of diseases or virus from an individual to the ape.
Trekkers are never allowed to eat around mountain gorillas or feed mountain gorillas and this because the food might be contaminated and can turn out to be harmful to the mountain gorilla. Trekkers that want to have their lunch in the jungle or eat snacks must not do so in the presence of mountain gorillas but rather away from the gorilla family.
A restricted number of people around mountain gorillas in one way or another also helps to protect mountain gorillas from covid 19. Only 8 people are allowed to trek a mountain gorilla family and this is done to avoid congestion around the gorilla members.
The above are some of the measures that were put in place to prevent mountain gorillas from getting covid and they helped. No mountain gorilla has ever got covid and it’s believed that if people keep following these measures the mountain gorillas will remain safe in their natural habitats.
There are more than 700 mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park and the population keeps on increasing each year which is great news to the world. 19 mountain gorilla families have been fully habituated and 2 are semi-habituated and open for habituation in this park. More gorilla families are going through habituation and with time the park will have more and more gorilla trekking activities which will increase the number of trekkers each day in the park.
Only 160 tourists can visit Bwindi Impenetrable national park on a daily basis and this number is few compare to people who really want to encounter mountain gorillas. In the dry seasons, some people find permits sold out on certain days hence missing a chance to encounter their relatives. If the mountain gorillas are protected, their population will increase and more gorilla families will be habituated hence increasing the number of people who can encounter these apes.
Protecting mountain gorillas from getting covid enables them from getting to extinction because imagine if one or two mountain gorillas got the virus it means most of the members would get it since this virus moves so fast and is deadly. A lot of mountain gorillas would die and tourists will no longer be able to visit these endangered species of primates.
Travelers that are suffering from covid should even try to get to the park to trek mountain gorillas even though they had their gorilla permit booked already. They can ask the local tour operator or UWA to postpone the Gorilla trekking day in order to save mountain gorillas from getting the virus.