Friday, July 08, 2005

Uganda slaps new restrictions on gorilla tourists

Picture taken January 2005 shows a gorilla chewing cud in Uganda's Bwindi National Park.

Uganda has imposed new restrictions on tourists visiting the country's population of highly endangered mountain gorillas after a new study found disease transmission from humans to be the second leading killer of the rare apes.

In addition to enforcing a seven-meter (23-foot) perimeter around the gorillas from which visitors cannot enter, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said it was now screening prospective tourists for symptoms of respiratory diseases to which the primates are susceptible.

"In our management, we are enforcing strict regulations that require minimal contact with the primates to avoid human-to-animal disease transmission," UWA chief Moses Mapesa said.

"Any person with symptoms of any diseases is not allowed to track the gorillas," he told AFP. "And, we have instituted checks and balances by involving other players in the conservation field."

Story here.

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