The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site and one of the top 10 best tourist places in Uganda is located in south-western Uganda and it is best known for mountain gorillas. The park is one of the richest ecosystems anywhere in the world with many different species of birds and mammals. At present there are 120 different species of mammals, around 350 species of birds, more than 200 different species of butterflies and many more endangered species. The park is also home to the Colobus Monkeys, the Bwindi Gorillas and Chimpanzees. The park lies in a remote area and travelling to the area is hard task because of the poor condition of the roads. Despite this thousands of tourists visit the park annually that being because of the unique Gorilla tracking facility provided by the park.
The park is inhabited by a population of about 340 individuals of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), commonly referred to as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The major threat to these mountain gorillas is poaching, habitat loss and disease, however, since 1997; there has been a gradual increase in the mountain gorilla population in Bwindi from 300 individuals to about 340 individuals in 2006.
Recent research has shown that the Bwindi gorilla’s diet is patently higher in fruit than that of the Virunga population, and that the Bwindi gorillas, even silverbacks, are more likely to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees. It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel further per day, particularly on days when feeding primarily on fruit than when they are feeding on fibrous foods. Additionally, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in, a small understory tree.
There are no mountain gorillas recorded in captivity explaining why they are indeed an endangered species with an estimated total population of about 650 individuals.