Why COVID -19 Made Uganda To Temporarily Shut Its Gorilla & Primate Tourism
Up now the world is still struggling with the outbreak of novel coronavirus which started in chine’scity of Wuhan in December 2019 and has blowout to various countries across the world.With the increased number of cases, death as well as recoveries announced daily, many deaths have been caused by this virus surpassing that one of the previous SARS-CoV outbreak back in China (2002-2003) and thus COVID-19 has attracted public health emergency with different health international organization being on high alert.
Coronaviruses result in respiratory and enteric infections which affect both human beings as well as animals and have been considered as relatively benevolentto humans before acute respiratory problems. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to infect more people and countries around the world, more lovers of nature and other conservationists have issued warnings that this virus could put at risk vulnerable Africa’s endangered mountain gorilla if nothing much is done. Therefore, as Africa adventure Vacation, we present to you why Uganda opted to suspend the gorilla tourism in this period of COVID-19.
As we are aware that the present Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are among the endangered species of the world, they must be protected and conserved form any form of disturbances both natural and man-made.Importantly in this harsh period of coronavirus pandemic dubbed COVID-19, the kudos mountain gorillas are susceptible to some respiratory sickness that affects human beings as well.
A cold or cough from human beings can affect and kill a mountain gorilla regarding World Wide Fund for Nature findings and this presents one of the reasons why tourists who usually track the gorillas are not allowed to get close to these species. Currently, the population of gorillas has increased to over 1000 and these reside in protected areas of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda where gorilla tourism is a lucrative source of revenue to these countries. However, COVID-19 has led to restrictive measures in the protection of these gorillas.
To safeguard these endangered gorillas from this deadly viral COVID-19, Authorities in Rwanda (Volcano) and Congo, (Virunga) earlier temporarily closed the gorilla tourism the respective National Parks in respect to the way how the virus rages different countries through human beings. And an indication that there no tourists now permitted to do gorilla safaris in the parks.
As they say that when you see your neighbor packing and running away from danger, you shouldn’t wait, just wake up and follow the trend. Thus, Uganda wild authority after hearing that other countries have stopped gorilla tourism and the fact that the virus had been reported in Uganda, on its website UWA officially announced that it had suspended primate tourism in all National parks in Uganda until 30th April 2020. This means that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks where gorillas are found is not accessible to travelers until the suspension is lifted, a move seen as protection of primates travelers and staff from COVID-19.
Why only attention to Primate tourism
One would wonder why majorly the focus is put on primates, its prudent to not that primates such as gorilla and chimpanzees are highly susceptible to viral diseases such as cough, cold and other major respiratory diseases. The endangered mountain gorillas remember shares the DNA as close to human beings as close as99% genes and this means that there is a likelihood that human diseases can easily be transmitted to these types of primates. further primates notably Gorillas are on the verge of being extinct even listed among the UN list of endangered species.
Research from various experts shows that and gorilla doctors show that these animals are highly sensitive to human infections and thus allowing tourists to visit them especially in this corona pandemic will expose them to high risk. Although there are some guidelines to follow such as keeping a distance of seven meters away from a gorilla, not using flashlight cameras,avoiding direct eye contacts, not trekking gorillas when sick and not littering in the park, they are not sufficient to protect the gorillas from COVID-19 hence a call for the suspension of primate tourism in all national parks in Uganda.
Major Indicators/signs and measures against COVID-19
According to the world health organization, our travelers are reminded people with most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Also, dry cough, difficulty in breathing, reddish eyes, fever, and tiredness are among the major symptoms of this disease.
Importantly we advise our travelers whether you’re in this time of lockdown to observe and practice measures put in place by world health organizations as well as your respective governments in your home. Measures such as keeping a distance one meter from the suspected person (social distance), use of masks to protect your respiratory organs, ventilating the areas more often, eat fully cooked food, stay home and avoid crowded places, avoid using public transport means, self-isolation in case you have a cough or your sneezing, avoid touching noses, eyes and the mouth as well as wash your hands regularly with soap or disinfectant. By doing this you can reduce the risk of being infected with the coronavirus.
In conclusion, therefore Uganda has suspended primate tourism until 30th April 2020 to safeguard the endangered species from coronavirus and therefore as African adventure vacations, we have rescheduled tracking permits for a maximum of two times up to March 31, 2020, especially to our travelers who had booked 30% down payment. This has been done in compliance with guidelines set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.