Twenty mountain gorillas from the Hirwa family that has been in Rwanda have crossed over to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda. According to the Mgahinga National Park website, the group crossed to Rwanda in September and has been there for several weeks now.
Mgahinga National Park is one of the three trans-frontier parks within the Virunga Conservation Area. The people know the boundaries of the park but the gorillas do not know the boundaries and are known to roam freely within the Virunga Forests. The news of the migration of the gorilas was confirmed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and they established that the family is being managed along the guidelines of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP).
According to the program, if a gorilla family crosses to another country, revenue is shared 50-50 between the two countries incase the gorillas are tracked within the new destination. We are yet to confirm if this gorilla family is to be added onto the booking system of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). If UWA decides to allow gorilla visits to this family, the number of gorilla permits for Mgahinga National Park will increase to 16 permits.
The mountain gorillas move freely, crossing these geographical borders shared by Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo. The Hirwa family came from the northern part of Rwanda known as Kinigi, and they are now camped in Mgahinga. This is not the first time this has happened. Until a couple of years ago, it was not possible to book gorilla permits in Mgahinga because the Mgahinga family had migrated across the border almost a decade prior.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds and is perched at a high altitude of between 2,227 and 4,127 meters. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests. It is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.