Bwindi Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park (BINP is located in the Kigezi Highlands of south-west Uganda and adjacent to the border of The Democratic Republic of Congo. BINP is a montane forest and is located in altitudes between 1109-2607 meters above sea level. The park covers an area of 32,092ha (330.8 km2). The size equals 46.000 football fields. The terrain is rugged with narrow valleys and steep hills.

The forest became a forest reserve in 1932. In 1961 it became an animal sanctuary, and latest in 1991, the forest was upgraded to a National Park.

Biodiversity in Bwindi Forest

The closed forest of Bwindi is home to 135 species of mammals. Of the 135 species there are 20 species endemic to the African Albertine Rift and 7 are internationally threatened. It holds 14 species of primates including about half of the remaining populations of Mountain Gorilla Gorilla Berengei (almost 400 out of 800) as well as the endangered eastern chimpanzee Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii and a population of about 30 African forest elephants Loxodonta Cyclotis. Bwindi is also rich on bird. So far 381 bird species have been observed in the forest. 6 of which are globally threatened, and 12 are endemic to Bwindi.

About 90 % of all forest bird species occurring in the African Albertine Rift are observed in Bwindi and they include 22 out of 27 species endemic to the the African Albertine Rift. Because of the many species of birds and the high number of endemic bird species, Bwindi is denoted as IBA (Important Bird Area).

More than 220 species of butterflies are found in Bwindi Forest. This accounts for 84 % of the country total.

There are 8 species endemic to the African Albertine Rift, 3 occur only in Bwindi, and 2 species, The african giant swallowtail Papilio antimachus, and cream-banded swallowtail Papilio leucotaenia are listed at IUCN red list as endangered and threatened. Because of the many species of butterflies,

Bwindi forest is believed to be one of the most important areas in Africa in regard to conservation of montane butterflies.

In Bwindi Forest more than 1400 higher plant species (trees, ferns, herbs, climbers, and shrubs) are recorded. Trees alone account for almost 400 species, which is 92 % of all species, found in the entire country.

Bwindi holds 18 internationally threatened tree species Ten species are endemic to Bwindi Forest, and another 16 species are found only in a narrow range to Bwindi in south-west Uganda and 74 of the tree species in Bwindi are endemic to the African Albertine Rift .

Bwindi Forest is extraordinary because it is one of the few places in East Africa that include both lowland and montane forest.

By United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO), Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has been selected as a World Heritage site because of its biodiversity, the high amount of threatened species, because of its exceptional beauty, and long history of humans. Evidence shows that people have been present for more than 30.000 years.