WFEN's Impact Report 2022-2023 Now Available

Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

Certified Gorilla Friendly™ Tourism

Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda [Photo credit: Thomas Marent]

Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, in close partnership with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a coalition programme of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora, and World Wildlife Fund, and through a multi-year consultative process with mountain gorilla range state governments and the private sector, has developed a first-of-its kind species-focused Certified Gorilla Friendly™ tourism certification.

Mountain gorillas represent a culturally, ecologically and economically important resource to the three range countries where they occur (Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), as well as holding significant value for tourists globally. Yet, while tourism has provided an economic incentive to conserve mountain gorillas and their habitat, they remain endangered and are extremely vulnerable to disease transmission, armed conflict, poaching, illegal trade in live infants, and habitat degradation.

An aim of Certified Gorilla Friendly™ tourism is to empower consumers to create change on the ground, engaging them as partners in conservation, by putting in place incentives for the protection of one of the world’s most endangered species, providing increased economic opportunities for some of the most economically disadvantaged park edge communities, and contributing to the conservation of one of the most spectacular and bio-diverse landscapes in the world. You can read more about community enterprises in Uganda that have been certified under the Gorilla Friendly Park Edge Products program here.

Reconciling the demand for tourist dollars with the needs of the gorillas is a delicate balancing act. The key is to minimize the risk of disease transmission and to avoid disrupting the gorillas’ natural behaviour. As more tourism opportunities become available to visit other gorilla species, our Certified Gorilla Friendly standards were expanded and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Congo became the first park to be Certified Gorilla Friendly, placing the western lowland gorilla firmly in the Gorilla Friendly program. If you are planning on seeing gorillas in the wild or would like to know more about gorilla conservation, please take the Gorilla Friendly™ Pledge.

To learn more about the origins of the Gorilla Friendly program, please read the Executive Summary of the Feasibility Report.

We thank WWF-Sweden, WWF-Switzerland, and Arcus Foundation for generously supporting

Certified Gorilla Friendly™