Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Brief History

There are several localities within the Park at which apes are being studied. At lower elevations (1450m), Buhoma has two habituated gorilla groups which are visited daily by tourists; tourists do not visit the other low site, Nteko. Chimpanzees are present at both low elevation localities. The higher site (Ruhija, 2,150m) is not visited by tourists and one group is habituated; chimpanzees rarely if ever range at this altitude. The Park has gained popularity as a tourist destination in the last few years. There are 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, and 163 species of trees (Kilimanjaro Adventure Travel). See the BIGAPE website for detailed description of research.

Primary source for the following Site Data --- the Bwindi-Impenetrable Great Ape Project (BIGAPE) website at and Craig Stanford, personal communication; see also


Name: Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park
Location: Uganda (soutwestern) 1° 04' S, 29° 38' E (Camp Kashasha, BIGAPE project camp)
Status: National Park
Area: 331 km2
Altitude: 1,200 - 2,500m (Camp Kashasha is 1,750m, elevation at Ruhiza group's range is about 2100m)
Temp: --- °C
Rainfall: ---
Vegetation: Montane wet evergreen forest
Disturbance ratings -- 2,3,2,[2-4],3 (habituation depends on area and species)
to Nkuringo = Ntungamo village (about 1km); to Ruhiza = Ruhiza village (about 5km)
P. t. schweinfurthii, G. g. beringei
gorillas: 300 in 331 sq. km (but absent from northern 1/4 of park), for 0.9 - 1.2 individuals per km2; chimpanzees very rough estimate 350-400 in same area or roughly 1 - 1.2 individuals per km2
Fauna: ---
Nkuringo study area began 1996
Habituation: minimal
continuous at both sites
Conservation: major conservation effort and ecotourism ongoing
sympatric ecology, dietary ecology, habitat use
Methods: focal fruit tree observations of chimpanzees; gorilla tracking for path length and food-from-dung data and also nest data
Craig B. Stanford, Dept. of Anthropology, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0032
Habitat photos: Some photos of the site, courtesy of Craig Stanford.
Maps ---
Aerial photos ---
Bibliography References relating to Bwindi
  • Ashford, R. W., Lawson, H., Butynski, T. M. & Reid, G. D. F. (1996). Patterns of intestinal parasitism in the mountain gorilla Gorilla gorilla in the Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. J. Zool. 239: 507-514.
  • Butynski, T.M. (1984) Ecological survey of the Impenetrable (Bwindi) Forest, Uganda, and recommendations for its conservation and management. Report to the Government of Uganda. Wildlife Conservational International, New York.
  • Butynski, T.M. and J. Kalina. (1993) Three new mountain national parks for Uganda. Oryx 27: 214-224.
  • Garner, K. J. & Ryder, O. A. (1996). Mitochondrial DNA diversity in gorillas. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 6: 39-48.
  • Goldsmith, M.L. and C.B. Stanford. (1997) The Bwindi-Impenetrable Great Ape Project, Uganda. Gorilla Conservation News 11: 17-18.
  • Goldsmith, M.L. and C.B. Stanford. (1998) The Bwindi-Impenetrable Great Ape Project: an update. Gorilla Conservation News 12.
  • Sarmiento, E. E., Butynski, T. M. & Kalina, J. (1996). Gorillas of Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest and the Virunga Volcanoes -- taxonomic implications of morphological and ecological differences. Am. J. Primatol. 40: 1-21.
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