Coronavirus also threatens Uganda’s wildlife: the great apes in Uganda’s national parks are particularly at risk.
COVID-19 can also have fatal consequences for wildlife. Great apes in particular, i.e. gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, could also die from the novel coronavirus. Researchers around the world are already warning of the death of entire populations in Africa and Asia. This also applies to the numerous national parks in Uganda, which are known for their biodiversity and of course for great apes.
Therefore, the current lockdown in Uganda includes not only all public life and almost all economic sectors in the country, but also the national parks. Fortunately, Uganda had the great apes in the national parks, especially in the west of the country near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly protected by various restrictions. For example, special rules apply to tours to the gorillas: Guided tours are only offered in small groups and when you meet a group of gorillas after several hours in the jungle, the clock starts ticking. Because then the rule is that you only have a little time to observe and photograph the gorillas. Then a minimum distance of 7 meters must also be maintained. And anyone who has booked a gorilla tour and wants to take the tour with a cold or another illness is not allowed to take the tour into the jungle. After all, the DNA of great apes is 98 percent identical to the DNA of humans and the great apes can also be attacked by colds, flu and other everyday diseases that are very familiar to us. This has already been proven in various studies.
In addition, researchers assume that thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees have fallen victim to the Ebola virus in the past.