How To Keep Gorillas Safe Between COVID-19 Concerns.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Rwanda has had a daunting task of not only protecting her citizens but the world’s last mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park sits in the scenic Virunga Mountains in northwestern Rwanda. This is home to the great apes which are the last remaining in the world.
Here, you will get surprised at the humongous silverback gorillas and a dozen baby gorillas hovering over trees in this vast park dotted by this vegetation and towering trees.
Read Instruction To Travel Mountain Gorillas In Covid-19 Era
Since the lifting of some of the restrictions on August 1, many enthusiasts have travelled to Rwanda for the gorilla trek but the conditions set are stringent.
Upon arrival to Rwanda, travellers are subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test besides having taken another test 120 hours before arrival to Rwanda.
Travellers are also quarantined for 24 hours while waiting for the results.
This is in a bid to protect the primates from contracting coronavirus which would wipe them out in a matter of days.
“If gorillas get coronavirus, they can’t go to the hospital. If one dies, another dies, and another, until they’re finished,” Francois Bigirimana a porter told Afar.
According to Tara Stoinski, CEO, and chief scientific officer of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, COVID-19 pose a great danger to the mountain gorillas.
“Because gorillas share 98 percent of our DNA, they are highly susceptible to human respiratory viruses,” he said.
Prosper Uwingeli, chief park warden of Volcanoes National Park explained that they have been monitoring the well-being of the apes all through since March when coronavirus was reported in Rwanda.
Besides, tourists visiting the park ready for gorilla trekking, must show proof of testing negative for COVID-19, and always have their facemasks at all times.
Temperature checks are also taken at the visitors’ area within the park.
At the entrance of the trekking zone, shoes are sprayed with an alcohol-based sanitizer and it is mandatory for everyone to sanitize their hands.
Besides, there is a new rule where only a group of six people are allowed to visit a single gorilla family in a day.
Again, 72 hours before departure from Rwanda, it is mandatory to take another COVID-19 test.