Rwanda Increases Gorilla permit fees

Rwanda Increases Gorilla permit fees

Rwanda has recently increased the price of mountain gorilla trekking permits by 50% effective 1st June 2012. The Rwanda Development Board announced in January this year that the price of mountain gorilla safari permits will have to be increased due to the increase in the number of tourists who come to visit the gorillas in Rwanda.

Mountain gorillas are found in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC. These gentle giants are found in the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo while in Uganda they are found in Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks. Gorillas in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national park.

Rwanda tour operators argue that the unilateral increase in the price of mountain gorilla tracking permits by Rwanda will have negative implications since the other two countries with mountain gorillas charge less. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $500 dollars while in the Democratic Republic of Congo a mountain gorilla permits costs less than $400. Many of the analysts are saying that the tourists will be forced to go to Uganda and Congo for their gorilla safaris.

However, the Rwanda Development Board argues that the increase of gorilla safari permit fees is not just about the gorillas but they are taking into consideration other aspects like security and also other Rwanda tourism packages.

They further say that the cost of conserving the mountain gorillas is way too high and the amount of money gotten from gorilla tourism is almost always ploughed back into conservation efforts.

According to the mountain gorilla population census carried out in 2010, the annual population growth rate of the mountain gorillas is about 3.7% with population increase of 23.6% over the last seven years.

Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park great number of the mountain gorillas with 790 left in the wild today.

With 97% of their DNA similar to that of human beings, repeated exposure of mountain gorillas to human contact through tourism is not without its dangers. Mountain gorillas are susceptible to diseases that humans suffer, however, with a weaker immunity to these diseases, there’s a danger that their entire population can be wiped out with a disease that would other not be so fatal among humans.

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