What is gorilla habituation?
Gorilla habituation is the method of gradually exposing a family of wild gorillas to human presence. Gorillas in the wild are habituated so that scientists can study the species, care for their illnesses and wounds, keep them safe from hunters, and further conservation efforts through environmentally friendly tourism.
Each gorilla group has through a lengthy habituation procedure (between 3-5 years) handled by a team of specialist researchers, conservationists, trackers, and rangers in order to become used to having the presence of humans. Park rangers begin the habituation procedure by spending a brief amount of time every day with the gorillas, keeping a certain distance near the limit of the gorillas’ comfort zone.
They gradually extend the time and decrease the distance each month until they are confident that the gorillas are ready for people to visit. While the gorillas aren’t yet totally habituated (these individuals are used to trackers and rangers but not strangers or tourists), the Gorilla Habituation Experience will assist to ensure that they eventually become fully comfortable in the company of humans.
What is the gorilla habituation experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is a thrilling experience that begins quite early in the morning at the park headquarters with a briefing about the laws, regulations, and expectations. Following the briefing, you will be grouped into a group of four people, join a team of researchers, park guides, rangers, and scientists, and begin hiking in the bush in looking for mountain gorillas.
The gorilla habituation experience lasts an entire day, and while trekking, you will be able to see other monkey species, various bird species, plant, and tree species. Once the gorillas are discovered, you will be able to learn and monitor their behaviors and habits, as well as observe them carrying out their everyday activities such as feeding, breastfeeding, grooming young ones, participating in the naming process, and taking photos, among other things.
When do Rangers start the four-hour calculation start?
Compared to gorilla tracking, where you initially see the gorillas and begin counting the one hour. During Gorilla habitation experience, the rangers begin calculating the four hours when you come across new trails indicating that the Gorillas are not far away. As previously stated, it’s an educational procedure, and by fresh trails, meaning fresh broken tree branches, droppings, and footsteps, to name a few, and the rangers and trackers begin the explanations and details from there as they show you how they do the habituation process, and you continue to follow the trail until you get to where the Gorillas are that day. You are permitted to take photographs while the clock is ticking.
Where gorilla habituation experience is done from
The two Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is where mountain gorillas can be observed, together with conservationists, researchers, and rangers. In Uganda, gorilla habituation experiences are only available in the Rushaga region that is Kutu family and Bikingi Family of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Number of people allowed for gorilla habituation experience
Only four people are allowed to do the Gorilla habituation experience in a day for a specific family because they spend a long time accomplishing the experience and since the Gorillas are semi-habituated, they don’t need a lot of noise from humans because they may react negatively at the visitor’s presence.
Requirements to do gorilla habituation experience
Some of the requirements to do gorilla Habituation experience are that you have to be over the age of 15 years old because minors aren’t permitted by the governing body to do any trekking activities, you must avail yourself on the day specified for the Gorilla habituation experience and if you fail to do so, you have to wait for a different day and obtain another permit. The most important requirement is a Gorilla Habituation permit, which is a document that authorizes one to participate in the Gorilla Habituation Experience. The permit includes the visitor’s information, the date of trekking, and a stamp from the Uganda Wildlife Authority to certify the legitimacy and veracity of the permit.
The cost of gorilla habituation permit
A gorilla habituation permit in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park costs $1,500 USD for foreign non-residents, $1,000 USD for international residents, and 750,000 UGX for East African citizens.
Gorilla habituation permits in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park ought to be booked between three and six months prior to the trekking date as the permits are few, competitive, and usually sell out quickly, particularly during the tourist season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February, so booking in advance is recommended to avoid last-minute dissatisfaction