The mind boggling question is how to keep the most precious African apes protected from the most dangerous scourge in modern history, Covid-19. With mountain gorilla numbers growing steadily at 1064 individuals and still listed as endangered on the ICUN red list, answers to that question are vital to the continued existence of our cousins. Uganda’s rangers, researchers and guides have been briefed, they are ready to protect our African jungle jewels.
Gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tracking, and golden monkey tracking are some of the most sought after safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the three countries, Uganda has the largest percentage of the endangered mountain gorillas in its Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and the other percentage shared by the Virunga Conservation area which is shared by Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chimpanzees and golden monkey tracking are done in Mgahinga National Park and Kibale National Park.
In the wake of the now a worldwide pandemic due to COVID-19, our way of life has been threatened and changed, mostly in terms of how we relate to each other. Just as the coronavirus affects humans, it can also potentially affect gorillas, chimpanzees golden monkeys, and other types of primates, which are already threatened with extinction from human encroachment, poachers, and other diseases.
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Although there is no proven case of the coronavirus being spread from humans to primates, the risk is enormous. This is because primates share close to 99% DNA to humans and are therefore susceptible to infections from human respiratory pathogens and infections.
Common cold can kill a gorilla thus it is crucial to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pathogens from humans to the great apes.
Globally, prevention measures among humans have been put in place which includes social distancing to avoid contracting the disease, however, primates may not abide by this distancing rule and often come close or even touch a tourist.
This has prompted the wildlife authorities to put measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These include the following.
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The above measures remain in place until long-term needs concerning mitigating effects of the outbreak are assessed. The measures have implications on tourism activities and earnings but are necessary to protect and conserve our wildlife resources.
As we all deal with all these changes, be assured you are not grappling with this alone. We are optimistic that the measures undertaken will keep the primates and other animals safe and protected from the coronavirus pandemic.
Stay home and stay safe.
If you would like to know more about, gorillas and gorilla tracking in Uganda, contact us.
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