After your visit, you can help to spread the word about gorilla tourism. Primate-based ecotourism has played an important role in creating awareness and generating funds for conservation and development within Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the past 20 years, gorilla tourism has been the most successful tool for protecting gorillas in these countries. Local people have now widely embraced gorilla tourism as a form of additional income.
Gorilla tourism has also created jobs for the locals as well as generating direct revenue from the sale of goods or provision of services such as guiding, transportation, and more. Spreading the word about gorilla tourism will help to attract tourists to the parks and therefore more benefits can be realized in terms of generating funds for conservation and development.
Visitors are also encouraged to participate in campaigns like the ‘Friend a Gorilla’ campaign aimed at protecting the mountain gorillas. This Uganda Wildlife Authority initiative was started to promote and educate the world about Uganda’s mountain gorillas. With as low as USD$1 you can befriend a gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Once you become friends with a gorilla you will receive regular updates on their activities within the forest through Facebook and Twitter.
In June 2014, The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) announced the launch of the Gorilla Friendly™ Pledge, an awareness raising campaign developed to minimize the risk of disease transmission from humans to gorilla. It is encouraged that visitors should take the pledge before their visit, but even after your trek you can create awareness about gorilla-human interaction and help educate future trackers to promote sustainable gorilla watching in Africa.
Giving feedback after your trip is very important. You can share your gorilla safari experience with fellow travelers on review websites like Trip Advisor, Lonely planet among others. Your response will help future visitors, and the information you provide will be analyzed on a regular basis by conservationists and tourism managers as a means to monitor and improve on the practice of gorilla tourism over time.
There are a large number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) as well as national authorities that work in protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Some of these organizations have been involved in various gorilla and primate action plans, conservation initiatives and programmes, which deal with a range of issues. Your contribution will help to promote the conservation work done by these people.