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Uganda boasts highest number of mountain gorillas

21 January 2015, 13:57 Godrey Olukya

Kampala - Of the less than 3 000 mountain gorillas still existing all over the world, Uganda is proud to have the biggest number.

Recent census of the mountain gorillas revealed that Uganda has over 888 mountain gorillas in its forests.

Researchers are attributing the fast growing numbers of the mountain gorillas to the continued research on these species.

The research was reportedly spearheaded by an American citizen, Ruth Morris from Colorado.

Because of her research which led to conservation of mountain gorillas in Uganda, Ruth is to be honored with a honorary degree by Makerere university.

Addressing the media ahead of a forthcoming degree awarding ceremony, the chairman of tourism board Stephen Asiimwe said that her great contribution towards gorillas research also prompted more Ugandan medicine students to study the gorillas.

Asiimwe said that 70 percent of the sector’s foreign earnings are from the tracking of mountain gorillas.

''Honoring Ruth will be a great occasion for Uganda. She did a lot so that endangered mountain gorillas are conserved. We now earn a lot of money from mountain gorilla tracking,'' Asiimwe noted.

The deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic affairs at Makerere university, professor Okello Ogwang said that awarding the researcher with a doctorate degree was unanimously accepted by the university senate based on her good work to the country, Makerere university and the east African region.

Ogwang said, ''It is not common for the senate to agree to giving out honorary degrees but when it came to Ruth, the whole senate unanimously accepted. She did a lot for both Uganda and Makerere university. Every year over 20 000 foreign tourists mostly from UK, USA, Denmark and Netherlands track mountain gorillas in Uganda bringing in substantial amount of foreign exchange.

Each tourists pays over 200 US dollars to track the gorillas.

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