Protect Gorillas – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking Encounters

Posted by on September 5, 2020

Wear Protective Face Masks for Gorilla & Chimpanzee Trekking – Keep the Primates Safe

Be Smart – Protect Gorillas – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking

Protect Gorillas - Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking EncountersProtect Gorillas – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking Encounters. The Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are an endangered primate species found in only two isolated forests of central-eastern Africa, spanning parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Mountain Gorillas share 98.4% of our DNA. The second most common cause of death is an infectious disease such as a common cold virus, or in 2020 the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Such infections can kill the endangered Mountains Gorillas. The potential of the Corona Virus could have staggering effects on the population of the Mountain Gorillas found in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. 

A simple Sneeze by a Gorilla Trekker during their encounter with the gentle giants of the forest can travel seven meters. Mountain Gorillas do not have immunity to viruses, infections such as the common cold, flu, or the Corona Virus.  

Great Apres such as Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees are quite susceptible to human infectious diseases, including respiratory infections that are responsible for 20% of sudden deaths in gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Please Note: The 20% death rate is before the Covid-19 outbreak. Preventative measures such as the wearing of Facial Mask is of the utmost importance.


For primate tracking activities, Facial Masks are now required. You need to bring at least two N95 masks or surgical masks or double-layered cloth masks with filters.  We suggest that you get them from your country. Facial Masks that are being sold have often turned out substandard.

It makes common sense and protects the endangered mountain gorillas from respiratory ailments that trekkers may have. It is especially true as the dreaded COVID-19 that has spread across the globe.

Protect the Mountain Gorillas Rules and Regulations in Place:Protect Gorillas - Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking Encounters

 There are rules in place at present to protect both the Gorillas and the Tourists. Not only can Gorillas catch infections from humans, but humans can also get diseases from Mountain Gorillas.

That is why there is seven meters or twenty-one-foot distance rule. Tourists, Trekkers have been blamed for violating that rule, which is quite possible with overenthusiastic Trekkers wanting to get the best photos. Who is at fault?  

All Trekkers have a gorilla trekking orientation where rangers present the rules and regulations for Gorilla Trekking. Where trekkers are asked if they are ill, it is doubtful if someone with what they might consider a minor malady might withdraw from the Trek. They are also told about the distance rule. Enforcement of that rule is up to the rangers in charge of the gorilla Trek. Mountain. Presently and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules are strictly enforced.

 Gorillas may unknowingly violate that seven-meter rule, and the rangers in charge have to pull trekkers back.

Especially Important: If you sneeze or cough, please turn away from the gorillas. Cough into your elbow or use a tissue that you put into your pocket. Keep in mind that even a slight wind will carry particles from a cough further than seven meters.

There is also the eight-participant rule. Only eight gorilla trekkers can visit one gorilla family per day. 

Protect Gorillas – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking Protect Gorillas - Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking Encounters

Most Gorilla Trekkers are conservation-minded tourists. The well-being of the Mountain Gorillas is on their mind, and to most donning a protective face mask during the one-hour encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest would not be a problem. That is especially true in 2020 with the Corona Virus outbreak in China and around the world.

The wearing of Face Masks during the Gorilla Trek Encounter is not required in Uganda, nor is it Rwanda. It is, however, necessary for trekkers in Virunga National Park where all trekkers don protective face masks.

Protective Face Masks are the best protection for both Gorillas and Humans. Something that Primate Researchers, the Gorilla Doctors, and representatives of the Uganda Wildlife Authority concur with that.

Protect Gorillas - Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking EncountersProtect Gorillas – Wear a Face Mask during Gorilla Trekking – Our Take:

Various surveys have shown that most gorilla trekkers would gladly don protective masks. We feel that this is not about the Gorilla Trekker but the protection of the endangered of the Mountain Gorillas. Though one thinks of the Trekker’s comfort of Gorilla Trekkers, the conservation of the Mountain Gorillas must be thought of first.

If a human, not wearing a protective face mask, spread the coronavirus to the gorilla population of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park, the results would be disastrous. Yes, it would not be an enhancement to those selfies with the gorillas, but the gain of gorilla protection is more significant.

We recommend that our clients pack Facial protective masks for their Gorilla Trek. We further suggest that and recommend that the Uganda Wildlife Authority make it a requirement beginning now. Face Masks – using them is common sense.

Jon Blanc