Making the pilgrimage to Uganda or Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas, admired for their humanlike mannerisms and massive grace, is one of the greatest adventure trips around. In fact, it's a trip we regularly feature in the pages of ADVENTURE, in part because the high cost, low-volume tourism model helps protect the natural environment of these very endangered animals.
But if your adventure travel plans don't include spotting gorillas in Central Africa any time soon, at least you can friend one on Facebook. But he won't just have an online profile. Friendagorilla.org, slated to launch this month, will allow you to follow your gorilla friends though a GPS and online video feed, courtesy of The Uganda Wildlife Authority (as reported on the New York Times Green Inc. blog).
Much like the gorillas in war-torn Congo highlighted in our March 2009 issue, gorillas in Uganda are dwindling. Though they make up more than half of the mountain gorillas world-wide, only 380 of the critically threatened animals can be found in Uganda.
But these gorillas are also Uganda's biggest tourist attraction, bringing in $225 million last year. Permits to track the gorillas on site go for $500 per day. With a $1 access fee for online tracking, the UWA hopes to raise an additional $700,000 to be put towards conservation efforts this year, as well as awareness for the largely endangered animals. The initiative coincides with the United Nations declaration of 2009 as the year of the gorilla. –Greer Schott
- Nat Geo Expeditions