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    Posted May 17, 2011 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    The Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     L. Craig Smith's photo was chosen as our Travel Photo of the Day. See it here on CNN.com!
    - astrickland, CNN iReport producer

    Mountain Gorillas straddle the border of Rwanda and Uganda in the Bwindi Forest and the Virunga National Park.   Their numbers are less than 1000.   They share 98% of our DNA.   Their habitat is impacted by the illegal charcoal trade and logging.   I have made 3 trips to view and photograph the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda.   At elevations  between 5000 and 9000 feet, the gorillas are elusive creatures.   You can hike for hours and never find them.   You are led through dense jungles, usually over wet and muddy terrain with several para military troops in front of you and behind you carrying AK47s.  The area is know for cross border raids so the local governments protect the tourists.   Our entry fees are used to help the local communities and give them an incentive to protect the gorillas.  If you are into  eco tourism it is a trip worth doing.

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