Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
In 1932, two blocks of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. These reserves had a combined area of 207 square kilometers. In 1942, the two Crown Forest Reserves were combined and enlarged, and renamed the Impenetrable Central Crown Forest. This new protected area covered an area of 298 square kilometers and was under the joint control of the Ugandan government’s game and forest departments. Then finally in In 1991, Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve along with Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve and Rwenzori Mountains Reserve was designated as a national park and renamed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The national park was declared in part to protect a range of species within it, most notably the mountain gorilla.
The Bwindi Forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa and, along with being a haven for the mountain gorilla, the forest also provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species also reside in the forest. In terms of fauna, the Bwindi area is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern sector which has a lower altitude is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered that is; Brown mahogany (Lovoa swynnertonii) and Brazzeia longipedicellata.
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