Gorilla Friendly? Tourism
The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, in close partnership with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP),?a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora International?and WWF,?and through a 3-year consultative process with the mountain gorilla range state governments and the private sector, is piloting a first-of-its kind species-focused Gorilla Friendly? tourism certification.
Mountain gorillas represent a culturally, ecologically and economically important resource to the three range countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) where they occur, as well as holding significant value for tourists globally. Yet while tourism has provided an economic incentive to preserve mountain gorillas and their habitat to date, they remain critically endangered and are extremely vulnerable to disease transmission, armed conflict, poaching, illegal trade in live infants, and habitat degradation.
Gorilla Friendly??tourism certification will empower consumers to create change on the ground, engaging them as partners in conservation, by putting in place incentives for the protection of one of the world’s most critically endangered species; providing increased economic opportunities for some of the least economically advantaged park edge communities; and contributing to the conservation of one of the most spectacular and bio-diverse landscapes in the world.
Reconciling the demand for tourist dollars with the needs of the gorillas is a delicate balancing act. The key is to minimize the risk of disease transmission and to avoid disrupting the gorillas’ natural behaviour. ?If you are planning on seeing gorillas in the wild, please?take the Gorilla Friendly? Pledge?and follow our progress on Twitter.
To learn more about this effort please see the Executive Summary?of the Feasibility Report.
We thank WWF-Sweden for generously supporting?Gorilla Friendly?