14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Sustainable Travel
Brown-Eyed Beauty

Sustainable travel is travel that does not have a negative impact on the environment and ideally would not only protect the environment, but also provide opportunities for local communities. I see visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda as sustainable travel because the visits support the local community while protecting the endangered gorillas. Tourists can pay to visit families of these magnificent animals for one hour a day, up to eight trekkers at a time. Over time, the gorillas have habituated to people and are tolerant of their visitors. The rangers dedicate their lives to protecting the gorillas, and you can clearly see that they love their job. Porters are hired from the local community to help the trekkers through the jungle. The porters are rotated on a regular basis so that more people in the community can work. This way, the local community receives a benefit and poaching of the gorillas is less likely. This photo was taken during our one-hour visit with the Mubare Gorilla Family Group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest, Uganda. After about one and a half hours of trekking through the forest, we were fortunate to be able to watch these magnificent animals up close. This photo is of a female gorilla enjoying a midday meal. There are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas left on Earth.

This photo is a finalist in the Sustainable Travel category of our 14th Annual Photo Contest. See all 70 finalists here.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2014
Date Uploaded: 11.2016
Photo Location: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Camera: PENTAX K-5
Copyright: © Lynda Hanwella