The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is in southwestern Uganda.The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. Composed of 321 square kilometres (124 sq mi) of both montane and lowland forest, it is accessible only on foot. BINP is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated . World Heritage Site.
Species diversity is a feature of the park. It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterfies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species. Floristically, the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low elevation) sector has many species of Guineo-Congolian flora, including two endangered species, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular, the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.
The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and many birds such as hornbills and turacos .It is most notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. 14 habituated mountain gorilla groups are open to tourism in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and the Nkuringo in the Districts of Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro respectively all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is in southwestern Uganda.The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift Composed of 321 square kilometres (124 sq mi) of both montane and lowland forest, it is accessible only on foot. BINP is a – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation designated World Heritage Site.
Species diversity is a feature of the park. It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies,27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species. Floristically, the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low elevation) sector has many species of Guineo-Congolian flora, including two endangered species, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata In particular, the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.
The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many birds such as hornbills and turacos. It is most notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. 14 habituated mountain gorilla groups are open to tourism in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and the Nkuringo in the Districts of Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro respectively all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
In 1932, two blocks of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. The northern block was designated as the “Kayonza Crown Forest Reserve”, and the southern block designated as the “Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve”.These reserves had a combined area of 207 square kilometres (80 sq mi). In 1942, the two reserves were combined and enlarged, then renamed the Impenetrable Central Crown Forest. This new protected area covered 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi) and was under the joint control of the Ugandan government’s game and forest departments.
In 1964, the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary to provide extra protection for its mountain gorillas and renamed the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve.In 1966, two other forest reserves became part of the main reserve, increasing its area to almost 321 square kilometres (124 sq mi).The park continued to be managed as both a game sanctuary and forest reserve.
In 1991, the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve, along with the Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve and the Rwenzori Mountains Reserve, was designated as a national park and renamed the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It covered an area of 330.8 square kilometres (127.7 sq mi). The national park was declared in part to protect a range of species within it, most notably the mountain gorilla.The reclassification of the park had a large impact on the Batwa pygmy people, who were evicted from the forest and no longer permitted to enter the park or access its resources. Gorilla tracking became a tourist activity in April 1993, and the park became a popular tourist destination. In 1994, a 10-square-kilometre (3.9 sq mi) area was incorporated into the park and it was inscribed on the World Heritage List. The park’s management changed: Uganda National Parks, since renamed the Uganda Wildlife Authority, became responsible for the park. In 2003 a piece of land next to the park with an area of 4.2 square kilometres (1.6 sq mi) was purchased and incorporated into the park.
In March 1999, a force of 100–150 former Rwandan Interahamwe guerrillas infiltrated across the border from the DRC and kidnapped 14 foreign tourists and their Ugandan guide from the park headquarters, eventually releasing six and murdering the remaining eight with machetes and clubs. Several victims were reportedly tortured, and at least one of the female victims was raped. The Ugandan guide was doused with gasoline and lit on fire.The Interahamwe attack was reportedly intended to “destabilize Uganda” and frighten away tourist traffic from the park, depriving the Ugandan government of income. The park was forced to close for several months, and the popularity of the gorilla tours suffered badly for several years, though attendance has since recovered due to greater stability in the area. An armed guard also now accompanies every tour group.
Geography and climate
Kabale town to the south-east is the nearest main town to the park, 29 kilometres (18 mi) away by road.The park is composed of two blocks of forest that are connected by a corridor of forest. The shape of the park is a legacy of previous conservation management, when the original two forest blocks were protected in 1932. There is agricultural land where there were previously trees directly outside the park’s borders. Cultivation in this area is intense.
The park’s underlying geology consists of Precambrian shale phyllite, quartz, quartzite, schist,and granite.The park is at the edge of the Western Rift Valley in the highest parts of the Kigezi Highlands which were created by up-warping of the Western Rift Valley. Its topography is very rugged, with narrow valleys intersected by rivers and steep hills. Elevations in the park range from 1,190 to 2,607 metres (3,904 to 8,553 ft) above sea level,and 60 percent of the park has an elevation of over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The highest elevation is Rwamunyonyi Hill at the eastern edge of the park. The lowest part of the park is at its most northern tip.
The forest is an important water catchment area. With a generally impermeable underlying geology where water mostly flows through large fault structures, water infiltration and aquifers are limited. Much of the park’s rainfall forms streams, and the forest has a dense network of streams. The forest is the source of many rivers that flow to the north, west, and south. Major rivers that rise in the park include the lvi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha and Ntengyere rivers, which flow into .Lake Edward, Other rivers flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi. Bwindi supplies water to local agricultural areas.
Bwindi has a tropical climate.Annual mean temperature ranges from a minimum of 7 to 15 °C (45 to 59 °F) to a maximum of 20 to 27 °C (68 to 81 °F). Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimetres (55 to 75 in). Peak rainfall occurs from March to April and from September to November. The park’s forest plays an important role in regulating the surrounding area’s environment and climate.High amounts of evapotranspiration from the forest’s vegetation increases the precipitation that the region outside the park receives. They also lessen soil erosion which is a serious problem in south-western Uganda. They lessen flooding and ensure that streams continue to flow in the dry season.
The park is inhabited by about 459 individual mountain gorillas as per the last 2019 Gorilla Census (Gorilla Fund)(Gorilla beringei beringei), known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population lives in the nearby Virunga Mountains. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997, to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006, and 400 in 2018.Poaching, disease and habitat loss are the greatest threat to the gorillas.
Research on the Bwindi population lags behind that of the Virunga National Park population, but some preliminary research on the Bwindi gorilla population has been carried out by CraigStanford. This research has shown that the Bwindi gorilla’s diet is markedly higher in fruit than that of the Virunga population, and that the Bwindi gorillas, even silverbacks, are more likely to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, the Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees. It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel farther per day than Virunga gorillas, particularly on days when feeding primarily on fruit than when they are feeding on fibrous foods. Additionally, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in Alchornea floribunda (locally, “Echizogwa”), a small understory tree.
The mountain gorilla is an endangered species, with an estimated total population of about 650 individuals. There are no mountain gorillas in captivity, but during the 1960s and 1970s, some were captured to start captive breeding.
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