Three new gorilla families have been incorporated into Uganda's gorilla-trekking program in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site. This follows approximately two years of daily exposure of the gorilla families to humans.

This initiative brings the total number of gorilla families available for trekking expeditions to 19 with now 152 trekking permits issued per day. The increased number of permits issued will help meet the growing demand for gorilla-trekking permits that Uganda has seen over the past few years following concentrated marketing efforts in North America and Europe.

During the habituation process, groups of six to eight researchers encountered the wild families on a daily basis, continuing until they became comfortable around humans. The newly habituated gorilla families are located in the Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma sections of Bwindi.

Gorilla trekking is managed fully by Uganda Wildlife Authority staff with a head ranger and experienced trackers leading groups into the forest in search of the gorillas. Gorilla-trekking permits are $600 per person. For an additional $15, participants can hire a porter from a local community to assist them during the trek.

Travelers seeking an even more immersive educational experience can opt for the Gorilla Habituation Program ($1,500 per person), which allows them to join conservationists studying gorilla families undergoing the habituation process. Participants will locate gorilla nests and take part in scientific monitoring before continuing on in search of the gorillas. Since these gorillas are not fully accustomed to human contact, they do not always come as close as habituated gorillas, but participants will gain a more in-depth perspective on the gorillas, their habitat, and their behavior in the wild, as the activity lasts four hours from the time the nests are located.

Travel agents are advised to work with a qualified tour operator to ensure the best possible gorilla-trekking experience for their clients. Gorilla-trekking permits can also be purchased directly through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

For more information, visit www.visituganda.com.

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