Friend a Gorilla Campaign
On 26th September 2009, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
launched a worldwide campaign "Friend-a-Gorilla". This
project is in line with the "Year
of the Gorilla" celebrations, as 2009 was declared by the United
Nations, and will
help to promote Uganda as a top tourism destination in the world.
contributes to the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas
and helps to protect them from extinction. Of the 720 remaining
mountain gorillas in the world, about 340 are found in Bwindi Impenetrable
campaign also gives a unique opportunity to become friends with
a gorilla from anywhere around the world. Strategically placed cameras
in Bwindi Forest will stream video footage of the gorillas, making
it possible to track these gentle giants from your own sitting room.
For only 1 dollar (0.70 euro) you can befriend a gorilla of your
choice and stay in touch with him via Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
New Gorilla Family - meet Nshongi
In line with the "Friend-a-Gorilla" Campaign,
a new habituated gorilla group was officially opened for tourism.
The Nshongi gorilla group is found in the area of Rushaga,
in eastern Bwindi National Park. The group was named after the river
close to where this gorilla family was first sighted. The family
is believed to be the largest gorilla group in Uganda with 36 individuals
including three silverbacks, which is very rare. Even more surprising
is the fact that the dominant silverback (called Nshongi) is not
the oldest silverback in the group.
Read more about the Nshongi group...
Hollywood stars save the gorillas
Six Hollywood stars were invited to join the celebrations
of the "Friend a Gorilla" campaign. Among the celebrities
were Jason Biggs (American
Pie), Kristy Wu (Buffy
the Vampire Slayer) and Melissa Wu
(Flight 29 Down).
welcomed with a special dinner, followed
by a trip to the impenetrable forest of Bwindi. Here they began
tracking the Nshongi group to symbolise the opening of the new gorilla
family. After a 3-hour hike, the group finally found the gorillas
where Mark Penning, one of the trackers, had an amazing encounter.
One of the young gorillas unexpectedly put his arm around him. "With
his hand resting on my shoulder, he looked right into my eyes from
just centimetres away," explained Mark after the tracking.
stars also attended the Gorilla Gala Dinner where they shared their
experiences. "This is an incredible country. The gorillas and
the faces of the local people we saw were beautiful. We are going
to be ambassadors of the mountain gorillas in the USA!" Read
Did you know this about Uganda's Mountain Gorillas?
... the Latin name of mountain
gorilla is Gorilla Gorilla Berengei
... the DNA of gorillas
is 98-99% identical to that of a human
... the name gorilla is
derived from the Greek word Gorillai meaning "hairy
... mountain gorillas can
not survive outside their natural habitat, meaning that
are non to be found in zoos around the world
... like humans, mountain
gorillas have individual finger prints
... gorillas consider ants
Read more interesting
facts about the gorillas on Friend-a-gorilla
"Lair of the Silverbacks"
Article in National Geographic Traveler - October 2009
Author: Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, founder of the Ugandan-based
nonprofit, Conservation Through Public Health (www.ctph.org)
now I have tracked gorillas over 200 times. This is what draws visitors
from around the world to Bwindi. I have watched people cry when
they first see the mountain gorillas. I'll never forget one lady
who said: "That baby gorilla is cuter than my grandson."
Befriend a Gorilla today!
Tired of the same old faces on Facebook? Then add a new
hairy friend to your network! Become friends with baby Katono, silverback
Mishaya or the entire Nshongi family! For only 1 dollar you can
add a gorilla of your choice to your Facebook or Twitter account,
and keep in touch with him via the latest technologies. Moreover,
with your contribution you will support the mountain gorillas and
protect them from extinction. Surf now to the Friend-a-Gorilla
website and befriend a Mountain Gorilla!
Visit your friends in person
Tracking the gorillas is an exciting and unforgettable
experience. And although the "Friend-a-Gorilla" campaign
is now allowing you to follow your friends from your chair, this
can never compete with the experience of a REAL tracking. Feel the
thrill as you are cutting your way through the dense forest. Enjoy
the breathtaking views from the surrounding mountains and be touched
as you see baby gorillas playing with each other.
your gorilla permit now! If you want to track the mountain gorillas
on any of the following dates, you are guaranteed of a permit!
15 December 2009
6 permits available
20 December 2009
4 permits available
31 December 2009
2 permits available
16 July 2010
24 July 2010
30 July 2010
11 August 2010
8 permits available
20 August 2010
8 permits available
30 August 2010
8 permits available
Permits can be reserved in combination with a safari to other national
parks, a tour that completely suits your needs and budget. But book
early as competition is high!