09 Feb Ugandan conservationists leverage technology to save Mountain Gorillas
A pioneering initiative to protect Uganda’s mountain gorilla population has officially been launched, leveraging technology to create sustainable sources of non-trekking revenues to fund conservation.
RoundBob and The Naturalist, Ugandan conservation enterprises working with Uganda Wildlife Authority, have launched My Gorilla Family, a subscription-based mobile application that allows users to join a gorilla family and contribute to saving this endangered species by indulging in activities that a user would with their own family. This was coupled with the launch of My Gorilla Family Festival, an event that will see local and international artists performing in Kisoro this coming May.
For as little as $2 per month, users will receive an all-access pass to the Bwindi/Mgahinga Conservation Areas, home to more than 50% of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Follow their daily excursions and family migrations through virtual trekking, celebrate their birthdays and new births, and receive updates from the rangers who protect and know them best.
You can follow as many gorilla families as you wish, knowing that your subscription is going towards protecting these glorious creatures and building the local communities around them.
The launch, held at Protea Kampala Skyz in Naguru, was attended by notable conservationists and others in the tourism industry. Panelists included Lily Ajarova, CEO of Uganda Tourism Board, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health, and Stephen Masaba, Director Tourism & Business Development, Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Fidelis Kanyamunyu, reformed poacher, Honorary Wildlife Officer with Uganda Wildlife Authority and Co-Founder of Home of the Gorillas, is a passionate advocate for the conservation of gorillas and the communities that live around them. It was his idea to come up with new ways to generate revenue to support both conservation efforts and to give back to local communities.
“As a child, I went hunting in the forest and grew into a poacher when the conservation areas were carved out,” Kanyamunyu says. “I am now known as an advocate for conservation and continue to champion community awareness.”
Home of the Gorillas Initiative, in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority, seeks to commercialize activities that generate non-trekking revenues through leveraging technology to enable global community engagement with the gorillas, thereby achieving alternative channels to fund conservation.
David Gonahasa, Co-Founder of Home of the Gorillas, further explained the importance of this initiative. “In addition to the subscription-based application My Gorilla Family, the Home of the Gorillas initiative will launch the first conservation limited NFT collection linked to the 200 habituated individual mountain gorillas in the wild.”
Expressing why individuals and corporate organizations need to appreciate and be more concerned about prevalent global challenges, Terence Chambati, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Home of the Gorillas, shared how they are contributing towards improving awareness and ownership. “We all need to be conservationists, regardless of our background or physical location. By leveraging technology, we are making more people aware of this natural capital we are blessed with, resulting in more mountain gorilla ambassadors globally.”
Lily Ajarova, Chief Executive Officer of, Uganda Tourism Board, commended the initiative, saying,“Uganda is absolutely ready for an application and a festival like this. It is time for the world to come and see how much more Uganda has to offer.”
As a leading scientist and conservationist at the forefront of gorilla conservation efforts in East Africa, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka emphasized the importance of community inclusion. “It is important to note the investment opportunities presented by conservation.”
Sam Mwandha, Executive Director, Uganda Wildlife Authority, “UWA is mandated to ensure sustainable management of wildlife resources. We are proud to work with our partners to ensure this, but also to educate local communities and people from all over the world about the value of protecting these majestic animals, and keeping them for future generations.”
**My Gorilla Family is available for Android on the Google PlayStore. iOS and web application versions will be available end of February 2022