As exciting as it is that Rwanda and Uganda are open for gorilla trekking tourism, it is important to note that there are set Covid-19 guidelines that must be observed as gorillas share 98 percent of our DNA, they are susceptible to human respiratory viruses.
Uganda gorilla trekking in the COVID times, as well as trekking gorillas in Rwanda and Congo, has had new changes in order to keep the remaining population of mountain gorillas safe from the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Mountain gorillas are part of the world’s most endangered animal species and very susceptible to human disease. Therefore any negligence on the safety of the mountain gorillas causes devastating effects that can heavily be regrettable.
Oxford Brookes University conducted research regarding the threat tourists pose to the health of mountain gorillas. The research is a highlight that shows that there is a likelihood of tourists infecting mountain gorillas with air-borne diseases such as flu or cough.
This is based on an incident that happened over 10 years ago where two mountain gorillas might have died of air-borne diseases that might have been caused by a tourist.
During gorilla tracking in Uganda or Rwanda gorilla tours, there are set rules that guide the interaction of humans with the mountain gorillas. Individuals are advised to keep a 7-meter distance from the mountain gorillas. However, the mountain gorillas do not know this rule and can move closer to the people and even touch them.
This poses a threat to mountain gorillas since they are susceptible to human diseases. So, how safe are the mountain gorillas from the COVID-19 infection?
Surely, all international airports including Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport and Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport screen all travelers that are arriving in the country.
No tourist is allowed to trek the mountain gorillas when they have any sign of flu. Following this rule, the spread of the COVID-19 would be contained from reaching the mountain gorillas.
Measures to control the spread of COVID-19
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include;
Gorilla trekking during this time with COVID-19 is risky for the gorillas because of the danger for them to catch the novel coronavirus. Plan a safe and well-organized gorilla trekking safari with Acacia Safaris for an experience of a lifetime.