Tracking the Nshongi Mountain Gorilla group

The Nshongi Mountain gorilla family, believed to be the largest in Uganda, is unique in that it has 34 individuals with three silverbacks.

Tourism, trade and industry minister Kahinda Otafiire on Thursday 24th September 2009 launched the tracking of the Nshongi Gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Otafiire and Hollywood stars Jason Biggs, Simon Curtis, Nicolas Brendan, Krisy Wu, Eddie Kay Thomas as well as William Byaruhanga of the Uganda Tourism Board, began tracking the Nshongi group at around 9:00am to symbolise the launch.

They trekked the more than 12km trail until they caught up with the gorillas after about three hours.

“I wanted to stop due to the long journey but after seeing them, everything was different,” said Biggs.

The Nshongi family is the newest group to be habituated in Bwindi. There are six habituated gorilla families, including Nkuringo and Mabaale.

According to Moses Mapesa, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director, the launch of the Nshongi group was in line with the grand launch of the “Friend-a-Gorilla campaign.”

The campaign, Mapesa said, would be based on mountain gorillas as Uganda’s flagship tourism attraction.

“It is expected to raise about $100m through the internet and other forms of sponsorships for wildlife conservation,” he noted.

He explained that the campaign would also provide an opportunity for Ugandans and the international community to befriend a gorilla through internet-based social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Strategically placed cameras in the forest will stream video footage of gorillas to audiences worldwide.

Original Article By Paul Tentena,in Bwindi

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