The Poaching Continues
On Monday, August 26 at 9:26 PM, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) posted to its Facebook Page:
Our Veterinary team and Gorilla doctors rescued and treated this young Gorilla named Tulambule, a member of the Nyakagyezi Gorilla Group in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. He was found caught in a snare wire laid by poachers. We wish Tulambule a quick recovery. Poaching does not only hurt wildlife, it also steals from us all. The Wildlife Act 2018 provides punishments for poachers up to life imprisonment.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
In 2017 the Uganda Tourism Board invited me to take part in the Pearl of Africa Travel Expo, which included a Gorilla Trek Familiarization (Fam) Trip. Accepting the invitation immediately, I started that day to research, prepare, and get my Gorilla Trekking Kit together. An adventure with one of the most Endangered Species on Earth!
Current estimates suggest there are just under 1,000 Mountain Gorillas left in the world. Of those, the only two safe countries in which to see the Gorillas are Uganda and Rwanda. And, as I have covered extensively on this blog, Uganda has vast wildlife & exceptionally welcoming people, offering spectacular Safaris, in addition to Gorilla Trekking.
Intimate Relationship with Tulambule
My first Gorilla Trek was one of the most – unexpectedly – life altering experiences I have ever had. We woke up at 5:00 am, venturing out into the cloudy, dark Ugandan Mountains. After an Introductory Session, our group of 7 headed off. In Uganda, only 8 Gorilla Trekking Permits are allowed per Gorilla Group each day. Conservationists believe this is perfect balance, not allowing for total habituation. And, as the Gorillas are not “GPSed” it can often take as long as 6 hours to find Groups,especially in places such as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
We were guided by our armed Uganda Wildlife Authorities into the thick, overgrowth of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Once the Ugandan Trackers found the Nyakagyezi Gorilla Group, we spent just over an hour with our family, the highest allotted time. Tulambule and his brother entertained us with their mock fighting, beating their chests at each other. Developing their skills to one day become Alpha Males.
Our interactions were so intimate that Tulambule’s younger brother played with one of our group member’s legs. The Nyakagyezi Group was so familiar, as the above picture shows, the Alpha Male Silverback decided to inspect what to him appeared to be our (human) Group’s Alpha Male. While my heart was deep inside my throat (and I may have been shaking a bit!), my dear friend and Travel Colleague, Michael English, displayed one of the calmest, and most appropriate under the circumstances, reactions to being inspected by an Alpha Male Silverback Mountain Gorilla.
After Gorilla Trekking, I returned home to cold, snowy South Korea, from the cloudy, cool Mountains of Mgahinga. The importance of my work seared into my Soul by Tulambule and his Nyakagyezi Family.
After years of working in Africa, on the heels of my being with the Wildlife Conservation Society in South Sudan, and utilizing my unique Skill Set, I founded Flyga Twiga™ LLC. International Development, helping the people of East and Southern Africa, and Wildlife Conservation, saving highly Endangered Species, can be achieved through Sustainable Tourism.
I take Tulambule’s pain from attempted Poaching personally. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda offers some of the closest encounters with a nearly Extinct Primate Species. The Nyakagyezi Gorilla Group of Mgahinga, , Tulambule’s family, will survive due to an integral, key part – tourism. Tourists insure the Ugandan Government and the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s commitment to Mountain Gorilla survival. You, as a Tourist to Africa, have the power to save a Species.