Thursday, April 28, 2005

Gorilla Gossip Scotched by Ugandan Reappearance

A family of "missing" gorillas reappeared in Uganda, scotching speculation in the national media that they had been lured to neighbouring Rwanda.

Ugandan wildlife officials have consistently scoffed at the flurry of conspiracy theories in the Ugandan national press, which accused Rwanda of spiriting the apes away to beef up its tourist trade.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) director Moses Mapesa told reporters in Kampala on Wednesday that the Nyakagezi group of gorillas, who "disappeared" from Uganda's Mgahinga National Park in November had reappeared last week with a new baby in tow.

"So contrary to speculation by some people that the Nyakagezi group was being 'held' in Rwanda, we were always confident this group would return," Mapesa said.

The eight Nyakagezi mountain gorillas were the only group tame enough for tourists to view in the reserve. Their disappearance from Mgahinga in November was a blow to a major money-spinner for Uganda and sparked a gorilla gossip frenzy.

Ugandan newspapers, always keen to cater to a sense of rivalry with Rwanda, poured out a stream of conspiracy theories over the disappearance, accusing Rwanda of "stealing" them to attract the lucrative gorilla-spotting tourist trade.

Story here.

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