The Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development Board and Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature have set up the minimum age for gorilla trekking. The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years old meaning children under the age of 15 years will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. Below are some reasons why the gorilla trekking age was set up:
Children are in most cases prone to communicable diseases and can easily spread to mountain gorillas that are vulnerable during the trek. One of the other reasons why the minimum age for trekking gorillas was set is that you can never tell the reaction of children once they see mountain gorillas, children may easily get frightened and panic then run way, and this can lead to an attack by mountain a gorilla which is dangerous.
The responsible authorities like UWA in Uganda request for client’s copy of a passport in order to check the age or you will be requested to bring a copy of your passport on the morning of gorilla trekking. At the briefing before embarking on gorilla trekking the rangers will deny anyone who is underage from trekking mountain gorillas.
The minimum age for gorilla trekking has been set up because sometimes mountain gorillas may become irritated by human presence in their natural habitat so in case gorillas show threatening signs of attack there are certain rules to be followed in order to suppress a mountain gorilla attack but children might instead get scared and scream when gorillas start threatening and this can increase the attempt of gorillas attacking the group.
Mountain gorillas leave on higher elevations that will require some level of physical fitness, children may become very tired and make the group trekking gorillas to lag behind, children are also naturally playful so they may go off track during the trekking because there are many trekking trails and it will be hard to trace a child lost in the jungle.
Children under the age of 15 are not the only ones exempted from gorilla trekking but even people with infectious diseases like cough and flu will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas because mountain gorillas can easily contract human diseases and their immunity level is low so any infections can lead to death of many.
In conclusion, you should not book gorilla permits when you are under the gorilla trekking age or you will end up wasting time and money. Gorilla permits should always be booked in advance before arriving in the country because of high demand you might travel and find no permits available.