Protecting the mountain gorillas in Rwanda is a major initiative, and now social media can play a part in the movement.
Visit Rwanda and the Rwanda Development Board are teaming up to use Instagram to help play a role in protecting the country’s wildlife.
Giving Wild Gorillas Internet Exposure
With GorillaGram, visitors to Volcanoes National Park can use Instagram to share their experiences and photos with the gorillas. Visitors can also use optional tags that will help rangers, researchers, and monitors keep track of the gorillas.
Photos are aggregated and added to smart galleries in the system.
According to tourism officials, GorillaGram makes the gorillas the first wild animals in the world to have an active social media presence, and that is a vital step in their protection.
“This simple approach gives park rangers, veterinarians, and conservationists access to a wealth of verified media content from our gorilla families every single day,” Michaella Rugwizangoga, chief tourism officer of the Rwanda Development Board, said in a release.
The approach includes “recorded behavior, changes to the group, interactions of interest and even alerts our rangers to any injuries or concerns,” Rugwizangoga added.
Gorilla Conservation And Tourism Efforts
Rwanda officials have made the protection of the gorillas a priority in recent years. Their approach has increased the population from less than 500 animals in 2010 to more than 1,000 currently.
They are hoping that GorillaGram will play a part in continuing to increase the numbers.
“The smart galleries of tourist photos will vastly expand the knowledge base and monitoring abilities of the park rangers and scientists, making these more than just treasured memories,” officials said. “Each visitor has the opportunity to play an important role in ensuring that the species continue to be protected and will prosper and thrive in Volcanoes National Park.”
The other added benefit is making the photos available to the public, possibly piquing their interest in traveling to the country.
“GorillaGram allows guests to have an unparalleled opportunity to make an unforgettable wildlife encounter and be an active part of conservation work that can be shared with family and friends,” Rugwizangoga said. “We look forward to welcoming guests to Rwanda and inviting them to work with us and add their own experiences to GorillaGram.”