A wildlife-versus-people conflict may soon emerge as Ugandan authorities contemplate buying land from people living near the Bwindi National Park to accommodate a ballooning mountain gorilla population.
But people living around the game park are not likely to be willing to sell their land, as the area is already over-populated and they think the national park is a waste of land.
This is already causing a headache for the East African nation, as the mountain gorilla, an endangered species, is a popular tourist attraction.
"As the gorilla population grows, there comes need to increase on the size of the land on which they live," Tourism Minister, Maria Mutagamba said, as she released the results of a population census of the primates.
The census was carried out from September 2011, and showed an increase of mountain gorillas from 340 in 2006 to 400 in 2011 at the Bwindi National Park, a trans-frontier reserve shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The count also covered Virunga Massif Park, which extends into Democratic Republic of Congo.
"That is a confirmation that Uganda is home to half the world's gorilla population, estimated at 880," Mutagamba said. "The other 480 gorillas are shared between Congo and Rwanda."
But Uganda's wildlife authority, which is supposed to look for land to accommodate the increasing primates' population, is wary about proposing to buy land from those settled near the reserve, saying this could provoke wildcat strikes and demonstrations.
Authorities now have to come with a fine balancing act, as mountain gorillas are a tourism draw card, yet land to increase their habitat is fast diminishing.
Tourism contributes about 9 percent to the East African nation's foreign exchange earnings.