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Cost of Visiting Rare Mountain Gorillas in Uganda Could Increase

One of the world's premiere and most exclusive wildlife experiences, Mountain Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, will soon become more expensive when the cost of gorilla visit permits increases.

The Rwanda Tourism Board will increase the price of permits for visiting the rare Mountain Gorillas by 50% to $750 per visit for permits purchased after May 31, but used before Dec 31, 2012. Uganda has not yet announced whether it will follow Rwanda's action and also raise the price its gorilla visit permits. Uganda currently charges $500 per day.

Mountain Gorillas are endangered and extremely rare. There are only about 700 Mountain Gorillas and they only live in one place: a rapidly shrinking range in the rugged volcanic mountains on the border of Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda. All of the gorillas are legally protected and the importance of gorilla tourism to the local economy helps to control poaching. However, not all of the gorilla groups are easily accessible or habituated to accepting close viewing by humans. All visits require a permit which are carefully controlled to limit the animals' exposure to human diseases and the stress of human intrusion into their home territories.

The permits allow the visitor to spend approximately one hour with a family of gorillas: about 6 to 30 animals. A maximum of 8 visitors per day are allowed for each gorilla group.

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