This is a new, exciting, and challenging way for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to add diversity to its tourist industry, bringing everything together that Mgahinga strives to achieve – research, conservation, protection, and tourism.
This new product for visitors to the park will allow them to have an insight and a better understanding of what it means to research, conserve, and protect an endangered species in the 21st century and the many challenges faced everyday by the team out in the field.
The activity gives its visitors an understanding of why research is of importance and how conservation is a result of what we witness when out in the field, learn about primate life in the canopy and their habitat, and other forest dwelling animals that share their home with the monkeys.
The research troop of Cercopithecus mitis kandti , known as the Golden Monkey, is endangered and endemic to the Virunga massif, population estimated between 2,000 and 4,000, and shares its home with the world famous Mountain Gorillas.
The troop has been named Kachima, meaning monkey in Mufumbira, the local language of the people living in the communities around the national park. There are more than 100 monkeys in this troop and reproducing sucessfully.Their biggest threat is habitat loss.
The work being carried out to research, conserve and protect this species is important to its survival and its habitat, and the many other animals and plants that live there. Tourism will go a long way to ensuring that this is sustainable for the future, by generating much needed financial support, and awareness to the world the need to conserve and protect such wild places, and that not only is it important to the fauna and flora, but also to the local communities that depend on such places to allow them to have access to natural resources in a sustainable way and develop and benefit from the finances generated by eco-tourism.
According to Sandra, Visitors will go out into the forest with the research team and learn how to track monkey, they will witness how these tree dwelling primates are the gymnasts of the forests, gain an insight into their daily lifes, and the challenges that they have to overcome to survive. They will gain an understanding of the forest, the plant life, and other species found there.
This is the ultimate "forest experience", no day is ever the same, we can not predict how it will be, except to say, it is new, exciting, and those who have been lucky enough to be a part of this experience have given positive feedback.
About the Golden monkey
This primate is endangered and endemic to the Virunga massif.The research group is more than 100 in number with a one dominant male.
The females remain in their natal group and there are a number of juveniles and infants.
There are at least 2 more groups of "wild" golden monkey within the area and some lone males.
Their habitat is montane forest with bamboo and bamboo forest. They use all canopy levels and come down to the forest floor.
They feed on bamboo shoots, which are seasonal, bamboo leaves, a variety of seasonal fruits, leaves and flowers, and some small invertebrates.
This primate uses a number of vocal sounds to communicate with each other.
The monkeys share the forest with a variety of other animals including Buffalo, Forest Elephant, Bushbuck and Duiker.The cost is 100$.