Monday, July 13, 2015
MOUNTIAN GORILLA GUIDELINES WHILE TRACKING GORILLAS IN UGANDA
MOUNTIAN GORILLA GUIDELINES WHILE TRACKING GORILLAS IN UGANDA Rules and guidelines while tracking mountain gorillas have been carefully developed to try to protect the mountain gorillas’ health and safety. As mentioned previous, Gorillas are extremely susceptible to human diseases and infections, and become stressed if too many visitors arrive or approach too closely. Remember that they are wild individuals, and very protective of their young. To remain healthy and survive these apes need to be undisturbed by visitors, and allowed to eat, rest and socialize with their own species. If a tourist is ill, the park Staff have the right to refuse a visit to gorillas. WHY: To protect the great Apes from contracting an illness or disease. Only one visit is allowed per day and the number of tourists is limited to eight per group. WHY: To minimize behavioural disturbance, stress and possible risk of infection,Visitors must be at least fifteen years old. WHY: To minimize risk of exposing Gorillas to childhood diseases (e.g. Mumps, Chickenpox Measles) and cold or Flu viruses. The time spent with great Apes is limited to one hour. WHY: To minimize behavioural disturbance, stress and possible risk of infection,Flash photographic is not permitted. WHY: It can upset or frighten Gorillas and may provoke an aggressive reaction or charge. All visitors must remain at least seven meters away from Gorillas at times. If the great apes approach to two or three meters (as curious juveniles sometimes do), then visitors should slowly retreat back to five meters. If this is not possible, then the visitors will be asked to remain where they are. The guide’s instructions should be followed at all times. Keep your backpack and other items in places where young Gorillas can’t approach and investigate them. WHY: To minimize disease transmission, stress and behavioural disturbance, to reduce the chance of possible future aggression towards tourists; and to prevent the Gorillas becoming too habituated to humans. Tourists should remain in a tight group, without spreading out or surrounding the great apes. WHY: This allows the apes plenty of room to move where they want to, without felling threatened (which may provoke a charge). Where possible, visitors should sit or crouch whilst watching the Gorillas. WHY: It can be very intimidating or threatening to Gorillas if you stand taller than they are, and stare. Standing biped ally is part of the great apes’ threat or aggressive displays. Body language is important , and visitors should not raise hands or arms, or point, nor stare at them. WHY: To gorillas there behaviours are signs of threat or aggression. Visitors should not clear vegetation close to Gorillas so that they get a better view. WHY: This can disturb or frighten the Gorillas. The guides will clear away vegetation, if it is possible and necessary If a silverback gorilla beat his chest, displays or charges at you, do not run away. Tourist guides are asked to stop tourists from moving or running. WHY: Although a charge may be frightening, the safest thing to do is remain quietly where you are. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted near the Gorillas, nor within 200 meters of them. WHY: The behaviours could distract them and cause problems if they approach out of curiosity. Food and other remains can be a source of infection. Visitors should be as quiet as possible, and whisper. If bitten by Safari ants or struck by stinging nettle, do not scream. WHY: To minimize behavioural disturbance and avoid frightening and avoid frightening gorillas. Newly habituated gorillas may be afraid to come anywhere near noisy tourists, and if gorillas are already present, they may leave. If you, the tourist, need to sneeze or cough, turn away from the great apes and try to cover your nose and mouth. WHY: To minimize the spread of airborne bacteria or viruses that you might unknowingly be carrying. All faucal materials must be buried. A machete may be borrowed from guides, a thirty centimetre (ten inch) hole dug and then the hole filled. WHY: Fasces can be highly infectious to great apes and other animals.All rubbish must be removed from the park, and visitors are asked to be particularly careful not to drop small items, such as, film boxes / canisters, tissues or handkerchiefs. WHY: Apart from being unsightly, rubbish can interest animals, can cause problems if swallowed, and can be a source of germ or disease transmission.