Gorilla Tourism – Rwanda’s wildlife Success Story  : Gorilla tourism has become a growing industry in Rwanda. It is estimated that the tourism sector will be worth US$1.5 billion by 2020 (Reuters, 2016). This is in large part due to the popularity of gorilla tourism. There are many benefits to the tourism industry in Rwanda.

Firstly, it helps support economic growth which is vital for Rwanda’s development. Secondly, it brings a lot of income to the country as tourists are willing to pay a lot of money to visit the gorillas (Philippa Lally & Mike Schmitt, 2013). Furthermore, it helps to improve the image of the country as many people from around the world see images of Rwanda as a beautiful country with friendly and welcoming people.

Tourism makes up 9% of Rwanda’s GDP and employs 80,000 people (African Development Bank, 2017). This demonstrates that it is an important part of the Rwandan economy. In particular, it has helped to improve the livelihoods of the poor by providing employment. Another important benefit of tourism is the fact that it is an important source of revenue for the country as it contributes US$260 million each year to the economy (African Development Bank, 2017). Therefore, it is vital for the government to continue to promote tourism in the country in order to maximise the benefits it can bring to its economy.

Mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered species in the world and therefore it is important to do everything in our power to protect this precious resource for future generations. To ensure that this happens, the government has implemented many measures to protect these magnificent creatures and the habitat they live in. For instance, the mountain gorilla has been listed as an endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Gorilla Tourism - Rwanda's wildlife Success Story
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes

The mountain gorilla is an endangered species that lives in parts of Africa and east Asia. It lives in the Virunga Mountains which are a range that passes through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas are one of the most critically endangered species in the world and it is believed that there are only around 1000 of them left in the wild (Nature Conservancy, 2017). In Rwanda there are around 700 mountain gorillas and they are found only in Volcanoes National Park (Wildlife Conservation Society, 2018), Gorilla Tourism – Rwanda’s wildlife Success Story

mountain Gorillas social structure closely resembles that of humans. They have a variety of social groupings which vary from group to group depending on the circumstances in which they live. Some groups live alone while others live in family groups of between five and twenty individuals.

The biggest gorilla family group in Rwanda consists of thirty members and they live in the Sabyinyo volcano area (Earthwatch Institute, 2015). and the smallest group consists of nine members. These families are headed by a dominant male called a silverback who acts as the leader for his group. The silverback acts as the head of the family and is responsible for enforcing its rules and keeping order within the group. He guards the family territory against all intruders and makes sure that each member is fed regularly (IUCN, 2018).

Female gorillas give birth to a single baby when they are four or five years old and become mothers themselves at around the age of eight or nine. Their young remain with them until they become teenagers when they strike out on their own and start to form their own families.

Rwanda has made effort to promote gorilla tourism as a way of generating income for the country. This has benefited the local community as it offers them a steady source of income that they can rely on. It has also helped to improve the conservation and protection of the mountain gorillas as it encourages tourists to visit the park and observe their behavior in their natural habitat (Virunga Alliance, 2018). However, tourism can have a negative impact upon the mountain gorillas if it is not managed properly (UNESCO, 2018). It is therefore essential that the tourism industry works alongside the conservation efforts in order to protect the mountain gorillas for future generations.

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