Why Uganda Gorilla trekking age limit is 15 years?
The gorilla trekking age limit in Uganda currently is 15 years and anyone below this age is considered a young and vulnerable person and therefore not fit to trek the gorillas. In most cases, persons below 15 have unpredictable characteristics that may lead to change in the primates’ behaviors. An example is when a gorilla tries to fume or come near a visitor in the presence of a child, she may decide to run or scream hence disorganizing the gorillas. Here the gorillas may react by attacking the trekkers as a way of defending themselves and the family. Therefore, the only way of minimizing such incidents is by discouraging 15 below trekkers in the park.
Another reason why the trekking age limit is 15 years for both Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla national Parks is that these national parks are strenuous to hike and therefore require a physically fit individual. People below 15 years of age are rendered weak and vulnerable and therefore cannot cope up with the difficult hike in Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Some parts of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park like Nkuringo and Rushaga are so steep and hence difficult for children to hike.
The gorillas share 98% DNA with humans therefore they can easily be affected by human diseases. Children (below 15) usually carry communicable diseases like flu, cough which can easily be transmitted to the mountain gorillas hence leading to their death and a decrease in their number. The mountain gorillas are very rare species and they can only be spotted in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in their natural habitat. This, therefore, means that the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board look for all possible ways of protecting and conserving the few remaining gorillas thereby limiting children from trekking.