Due to the current global health crisis and its threat to impose harm to Uganda citizens, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has temporarily suspended primate tourism in Uganda national parks. Gorilla tourism has been suspended in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park with hopes of protecting the parks’ wildlife heritage, staff, and tourism business.
Amid the current world health crisis, and after careful consideration of the potential risks and consequences at stake, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has made a decision to temporarily suspend tourism to Uganda National parks, effective immediately, until April 30, 2020. The temporary suspension will include gorilla tourism and all other tourism activities for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, and Uganda’s protected national park areas.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority has implemented specific guidelines for Uganda National Park tourism activity during this time, which include the following:
- Primate tourism and research has been suspended in all of the parks’ protected areas until April 30, 2020
- Filming of primates is also suspended until April 30, 2020
- Trackers will be provided necessary PPE in order to prevent the spread of possible infection to the primates
- Commercial motorcycles (boda boda) and bicycles are prohibited in protected areas
- An internal task force has been formed to work closely with the National Task Force and to update and guide management on the day-to-day developments in the containment of the outbreak and its implications to wildlife conservation and to the parks’ protected areas
- The National Wildlife Authority has relaxed the rescheduling of gorilla and chimpanzee tracking within Uganda National Parks. Tour operators are allowed to reschedule tracking permits up to a maximum of two times through March 31, 2022. This offer is valid even for those who chose to book with a 30% down payment. This measure is intended to give tour operators and the parks’ visitors flexibility so that they may avoid cancellation of trips that they may have already booked prior to news of the pandemic.
- All of the Uganda National Park staff members have been directed to be vigilant; they are instructed to their wash hands thoroughly and regularly with soap or an alcohol-based solution and they are to maintain social distance in order to avoid contracting the illness
After assessing the current situation facing Uganda and the world, the management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority feels that immediate suspension of tourism at this time is critical for the protection of Uganda’s native wildlife heritage, Uganda National Parks staff, its visitors, and the parks’ typical tourism business. While they acknowledge the implications such restrictions will impose on the parks’ earnings and tourism activities for Uganda National Parks, the Uganda Wildlife Authority management is convinced that this decision is but a necessary undertaking at this time.
The Uganda National Wildlife management believes that the suspension of tourism for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, and Uganda National Parks protected areas is vital in reducing the further spread of the current pandemic and urge all staff, visitors, and citizens to comply.
About Uganda National Parks: The Pearl of Africa is fortunate to have an amazing network of 10 beautiful national parks, 8 game reserves, forest reserves, and other protected areas. The parks provide a respite in nature for people all around the world and they are home to gorillas, as well as many other species of African plants and animals. Popular park activities include safaris, camping, gorilla-watching, and much more.