5 Facts about Mountain Gorillas

5 facts about mountain gorillas : Mountain gorillas are an endangered gorilla subspecies of the western gorillas. Mountain gorillas are mammals omnivorous in nature that can only be found in three African countries with gorillas in the whole world. Mountain gorillas can only be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda which protects over half the total world population of mountain gorillas, with the rest being shared amongst the Virunga Massifs which encompass Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda as well.

There are about 1000 mountain gorillas recorded to inhabit the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo. It is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda which hosts the highest population of mountain gorillas, with about 19 habituated gorilla families that travelers can encounter on gorilla trekking safaris. The average lifespan of mountain gorillas is about 36 years in the wild. An average standing height of an adult gorilla could be about 1.2-1.8 meters, weighing between 135-220kgs.

Mountain gorillas are the biggest primates inhabiting the mountainous rainforest of the Virunga Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Habituated gorilla groups which usually are of at least 5-30 gorilla family members in a single group, are what travelers do visit on gorilla trekking safaris in the destinations that inhabit the mountain gorillas, for an opportunity to encounter the gorillas in their natural habitat. Below are 5 facts about mountain gorillas that are worth knowing;

1. Gorillas are listed as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2018, a new study revealed the growth of mountain gorilla population thereby removing them from the IUCN list of critically endangered species, moving to simply being endangered. All efforts by various gorilla conservationists paid off and are still doing so given the continued growth of mountain gorilla population. There are about 1000 mountain gorilla individuals recorded to still inhabit the world, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of the Congo. Mountain gorillas share about 98% DNA with humans, making them close relatives with humans. With this in mind, gorillas are very susceptible to human infections, one of the biggest threats to the existence of the gorillas on top of poaching for wild meat, civil unrests especially in the Congo as well as habitat encroachment by humans for cultivation and settlement.

5 Facts about Mountain Gorillas
Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Safari

2. Mountain gorillas are omnivorous primates which feed on fresh vegetation like leaves, fruits, shoots and pith. Mountain gorillas rarely drink water simply because the foods they eat have a high concentration of water in them. It is the silverback gorilla, the head of the family which takes the troop or gorilla family that he dominates to the feeding spots of the day. Many decisions are made by the dominant silverback, say where yo eat, where to sleep, among others. You can encounter the giant gentle silverbacks on gorilla trekking safaris in Africa.

3. Habituated mountain gorillas are still wild animals in their natural habitat. This means that even if they are habituated for your encounter on gorilla trekking experiences, caution should still be exercised while in their presence so as to prevent gorillas from charging at you showing their aggressive nature when provoked. To prevent the habituated gorillas from getting stressed and pushed to defensiveness, rules and regulations, which are dos and don’ts while in the gorilla destinations and with gorillas that trekkers are expected to follow at all times. Maintaining a 7meter distance from the gorillas when in their presence, and not making eye contact and using flash cameras are some of the most important dos and don’ts that travellers ought to remember at all times, for the mountain gorillas could feel attacked and threatened when flashed at for example, and then end up getting defensive.

4. Gorillas also do have a schedule that they follow. A typical day of mountain gorillas starts very early in the morning at 6am, waking up from their nests which they personally made the previous day and shall probably not use them again, and proceed for foraging in the forest. Mountain gorillas eat from early morning till around midday when they take time to rest and relax, bonding with the other family members. Bonding can be inform of grooming each other, with infants and juveniles playing with each other or even including their parents in their playfulness. It is even these playful juveniles and infants that do get curious when they see humans that some are known to come up close with humans trying to play with them. After, the gorillas forage again in the afternoon before calling it a day, having made their nests earlier.

5 Facts about Mountain Gorillas
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

5. Mountain gorillas can be encountered on mountain gorilla trekking safaris in the gorilla destinations that they inhabit. When you encounter them, you shall be left amazed seeing these near humans behaving just like us humans. You may be lucky to even see a mother nursing her child, just like humans!

Interested in meeting mountain gorillas in their natural habitat? Look at the various Uganda gorilla safaris packages or get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you put together your tailored gorilla trekking safari to any of the gorilla destinations, say Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and get to see the 5 facts about mountain gorillas by yourself, and more.

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