Gorilla trekking Age Limit

Gorilla trekking Age Limit

Gorilla trekking Age Limit : Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought for safari activities on the African continent and is a once – in – a life time experience offering tourist a chance to come in face to face with mountain gorillas which are classified as endangered.

Mountain gorillas are found in two populations, one population is found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and is the largest population (half of the world’s population) and the second population is found in Virunga Conservation Area comprising of three protected areas/ destinations that are Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo.

gorilla trekking age limit

Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park found in Uganda are managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Volcanoes national park is managed by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Virunga national park is managed by Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).

Though these gorilla destinations are managed by different authorities, they have a similar age limit governing gorilla trekking experience and the tourists that are allowed to participate in the memorable experience, the age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years. Individuals below the age of 15 years are considered children, children are known for being chaotic and they cannot deal with these apes.

Mountain gorillas open for gorilla trekking are habituation meaning they are friendly and familiar with the presence of human being, however they can get violent if agitated and some of the things we can agitate the gorillas are unnecessarily movements and noise which are known action by the children.

Trekkers above the age of 15 are considered adults, they are believed to be matured enough and cope up with the changes of the ape and strictly follow the gorilla trekking rules and regulations.

Why Gorilla trekking age limit is 15 years

The age limit for gorilla trekking is currently 15 years and any individual below is considered young and vulnerable therefore not fit for gorilla trekking and being in presence of mountain gorillas, this is because children have unpredictable characteristics such as unnecessary movements and noise which can cause a change in the behaviors of mountain gorillas. For instance, if a gorilla becomes irritated and fumes or comes in presence of a child, she may be tempted to run or scream which will anger the gorillas more causing a gorilla to react by attacking trekkers as a way of defending itself and its family.

For security reasons of both the gorillas and trekkers, trekkers below the age of 15 are not prohibited to participate in gorilla trekking.

gorilla  trekking age limit

Another reason to why individuals below the age of 15 are not allowed to participate in gorilla trekking is because this experience is strenuous due to the hilly nature of the parks, thus requiring a physically fit individual yet people below the age of 15 are rendered weak and vulnerable. Therefore cannot cope up with the difficult hike in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DR.Congo.

Mountain gorillas share 98% DNA with humans therefore they can easily be affected by human illnesses/ diseases, individuals (children) below the age of 15 usually carry communicable diseases such as flu, cough which can easily be transmitted to mountain gorillas thus leading their death.

Mountain gorillas are very rare species and are classified endangered species, gorillas can only be spotted in their natural habitat in three countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Because of their status, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development Board and Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature practice all the possible ways to protect and conserve the few remaining mountain gorillas and one of the ways is limiting children for gorilla trekking.

Instances where children below 15 years of age can trek

It is only in Uganda where children the age of 15 are allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park, minors can only participate in gorilla trekking  in the following incidents and if their parents follow the right procedure as follows

  • Parents have to prove to Uganda Wildlife Authority that the children are physically fit to participate in gorilla trekking.
  • Parents should provide the current photo of their children to UWA for examination and then they are given feedback by the authorities.
  • In most cases, children whose birthdays are nearing to make 15 years may be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. For example if a child is in his/her late 14 and about to clock 15 years, these are considered matured in the mind and physically. The parents is required to submit in a letter to the Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting and informing them about the age and physical status of the child, an attachment of the child’s valid passport and current photos are required and will help in easy classification of the child by Uganda Wildlife authorities. After the approval, you will be granted gorilla permit.
  • Another incidence where children are allowed to trek is when they are doing gorilla trekking together with the parents, the parents are required to sign a consent and liability forms from Uganda Wildlife Authority so that the parents are reliable and charged of anything that may happen to the child in the jungle.
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