Currently, Rwanda gorilla permit is sold at US$750, Uganda at US$600 and in Democratic Republic of Congo at US$ 400 each. Some scholars ask why that is too much spending on gorilla trekking. Below are some of the reasons:
The high prices aim at controlling the number of visitors moving to see Gorillas in their natural habitat. However much money is needed but crowding the gorilla habitats may be a danger to the conservation campaign. Gorillas get stressed with crowds, and on the other hand, vegetation cover is destroyed when clearing paths/ trails.
To control familiarization of Gorillas and Human beings
Gorillas are wild animals which shouldn’t socialize with people so much. The feminization can destroy their natural being/ setting.
Local Community Development
Part of the profits from Gorilla tourism is rewarded to front line communities in terms of services. Roads are constructed, provision of clean piped water, education and health centers among others.
Safety and Monitoring
The gorillas are monitored day and night. There is a need to pay the security guards, rangers, Gorilla doctors among others. If Gorillas not guarded, they can be poached, trafficked, trapped, attacked and killed by human diseases if not treated. Such diseases include Ebola, Cough, flu, Tuberculosis and so on. To reduce risks of diseases, the number of visitors is checked by charging high on gorilla permits.
Rare and Critically Endangered
It is only in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo that one can see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Since they have no substitute, adventure travelers book gorilla safaris whatever the cost is. This makes the demand for gorilla permits very high throughout the year, and tourists are advised to book their permits at least 3 months in advance to avoid last minute disappointments.
Gorilla permits are booked through tour operators in Kampala and Kigali, or book direct through Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
According to most writers, gorilla tracking is the highlight of all safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo and makes tourism one of major foreign exchange earners especially in Uganda and Rwanda.
For the past three years, the statistics show that Rwanda has received the largest number of gorilla tourists per annum, yet it has the highest gorilla permit fees compared to Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
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