Primate Parks Reopened in Uganda
Primate Parks Reopened in Uganda: The global Covid19 pandemic had caused a temporary shut down on the tourism sector brings to a halt to most of the tourism activities in several countries including Uganda.
Uganda the pearl of Africa is one of the top tourism destinations in East Africa and Africa with a wide range of natural features, wildlife, birdlife, culture and unique tourist activities that attract thousands of tourists in the country yearly.
Because of the COVID19 pandemic, Uganda like most countries imposed a lockdown that saw the closure of borders and shutting down airport activities. The lockdown altogether saw tourists temporarily stop visiting the pearl of Africa because of course borders were closed and the tourism had also stopped work in the different tourist sites.
As countries began to get of the lockdown, the tourism sector also started to open, in July 2020, Uganda started reopening most its tourism sites, starting with the savannah game parks across the country. The national parks started with admitting local tourists and later the international tourists all under observation of the COVID19 standard operating procedures.
Two Months later after opening the savannah game parks, good news has hit the tourism industry as the Uganda Wildlife Authority the wildlife governing body in Uganda, has decided to open the primate parks in Uganda and hence allowing people to enjoy primate trekking once again.
Primate trekking is the most sought after tourist activity in Uganda with over half of the percentage that visit the pearl of Africa every day engaging in primate trekking especially mountain gorilla trekking.
Uganda among the two East African countries with primates is known to have the highest number of primates and hence the name the primate capital/ the capital of primates.
Primate trekking in Uganda happens in Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park and Kibale National Park and the primates trekked in Uganda include the famous and endangered mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees.
The delay in opening primate parks was because primates share up 98% of their DNA with humans, which means they are susceptible to similar diseases that affect humans. This fact caused a fear within wildlife authorities and primate conservationists if a human had the virus and spread it to the primates; the effect on the primates would be severe and a great number of them would die bringing a reduction in the number of primates yet its already low.
Though the fear is still there the Uganda Wildlife Authority has decided to open the primate parks to allow several individuals to take part in this once in a life time experience.
Uganda Wildlife Authority to ensure that individuals still enjoy this experience and also still keep the primates safe, has attached a set new trekking guidelines for those persons wishing to trek and admission to trekking will entirely depend on adherence to these set guidelines.
The set guidelines include but not limited to:-
- All persons wishing to trek mountain gorillas or chimpanzees will be required to have had a COVID19 test and tested negative at least 48 hours prior to the trekking experience.
- Temperature readings of all trekkers will be taken before the start of the trek and if one is found with high temperature, they may not be allowed to embark on the trek with the others.
- Any trekker who exhibits signs of COVID19, will be immediately isolated and will not be admitted to embark on the trek.
- All trekkers will be required to wash their hands before the trek and to sanitize continually during the trek.
- Trekkers will have to keep a social distance even as they trek and also keep their masks on during the trek and the stay at the park.
- The number of trekkers may be reduced to accommodate the social distancing standards, however by the time of writing this article, this issue was still being debated
- Porters that help trekkers with their trekking bags and other stuff, will also be required to undergo the COVID19 SOP scrutiny.
All mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking rules will still be followed even as the COVID19 standard operating guidelines are being observed. These rules include but not limited to keeping 5 to 7 meter distance between and the primate, not using flash photography with the primates, not feeding the primates, not behaving in a manner that will distort the primates’ wellbeing and all trekkers should be 15 years and above among other rules.