Last week Mgahinga National Park received heavy rains that claimed the lives of four mountain gorillas. These have a home in Volcanoes Mountains which are shared with Democratic republic of Congo and Rwanda.
The rains that started as normal, made gorillas to hide in the trees as usual. Later on they increased with outbursts of thunder that even game wardens couldn’t respond to sounds of rescue from the endangered family. Mgahinga National Park is a home to 600 gorillas before the ones in question passed on. Hirwa family was the victim of this tragedy. The family had seventeen members. Among the victims, 3 were adult females and a young one.
A group of rangers who were in the same vicinity had also taken refuge in the trees. They said there was lightening and animals made a lot of noise for rescue but they couldn’t get any closer to them. They saw one adult female down, and the other was trying to help her wake up. It couldn’t. She was already dead. To their shock the found four of them dead after the rains. They were with rangers form Rwanda too. This was very sad to Hirwa group and to the tourism sector. Since these animals can’t be confined, Hirwa family had a home in Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda but later on in August 2019 it migrated to Uganda. It’s led by Alpha male, or Munyinya, a silver back.
The tentative cause of death for these animals was electrocution caused by lightning. The park awaits for a post-mortem report from the authorities to know the actual cause of death and this might be received either this week or next week. Authorities from Rwanda and Uganda are working together to see that the rest of the animals are in perfect health.
Trekking gorillas in Uganda contributes a percentage of 70 to Uganda’s tourism sector. Mountain Gorillas are endangered species and any reduction in number is a failure to the sector. This can be claimed to the fact that Uganda offers gorilla trekking at a fair price of 700 dollars compared to her neighbor Rwanda who charges 1500 dollars for a permit. The good news is, during the low season, prices are discounted in Uganda.
However much the country lost them, it has many that you will enjoy trekking in an off and high season.