“I shall never forget my first encounter with gorillas”.
The Mountain Gorillas, also known as Gorillas beringei beringei have longer and thicker fur on their bodies adapted to their cold mountainous environment. As the name states, mountain gorillas they are found at high altitudes of about (2,500-4,000 m) in montane forests.
Mountain gorillas are only found within the Virunga conservation area overlapping Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. They are found within four National Parks. Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi National Park in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes National Park, in north-west Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mountain gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Of the thousands of tourists that have made their way to East Africa; a Uganda Rwanda Congo gorilla trekking safari has always been the best memorable experience they have had.
Mountain gorillas are estimated to be about 1004 according to the census conducted in 2018. Uganda happily confirms over 600 gorillas out of the 1004 totals in the world. Other places in Uganda where they are found is Mgahinga National Park. Without these mountain gorillas, there would be no Uganda Rwanda Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris and Tours.
Characteristics of the mountain gorillas
How do gorillas move?
Just like any other Ape, gorillas have arms longer than their legs and. They have a tendency of walking on their four hind limbs at times. This kind of movement is known as knuckle walking.
What do Gorillas feed on?
Gorillas have flexible diets therefore can live in diversity of environments. Gorillas are herbivores. They eat roots, shoots, vines, pith and fruits. They rarely drink water because they feed on succulent vegetation which comprise of water as well as morning dew. However, some look for water sources and take water although rarely. During a Uganda gorilla safari habituation, tourists have chance to watch the gorillas feed, and how they carry on their daily life in the wild.
How do Gorillas behave?
Gorillas display a lot more of human like emotions and behaviors. It has been observed that the gorillas laugh, grieve, have a strong family bond, make use of tools for survival in the forests where they reside. This behavior is what amazes tourists on Uganda tours as they see human-like behavior in animals.
Gorilla families live in groups of about 5-10 however they can even live in numbers bigger than that. Just like in a normal human family, the male is always the head. Silver backs lead their families. They assume leadership and it lead their families for several years.
What are silver backs?
Adult male gorillas are known as “Silver backs” because of their silver colored hair on their backs and the hips. The young males are called blackbucks. The females have no special names so they are just called gorillas.
The silver back makes decisions especially where they sleep at night, feeding places, determines their moves. It does so because it must protect the family at all times, even if it costs its life just like human beings do. The silver back tends to be more aggressive, he beats its chest, and charges if he detects any threat. Silver backs have the right to mate with anyone in the family.
Young males sometimes leave the groups as they become older to start their own lives and family as well as silver backs heading a family.
When a silver back passes on, the gorilla family disperses to find other groups to join. Getting a group to join is a bit hard so sometimes they wait for a silver back to join them and maintain grooming the young ones.
How do Gorillas communicate?
Gorillas are so intelligent. They have taught themselves a subset of sign language. This helps them communicate with each other. They normally do a nose to nose greeting. Besides greeting, sounds they make may be classified as grunts, and barks. They use this type of communication especially when they are traveling. They scream, make signal alarms especially when warning, most often by silver backs.
Where do Gorillas sleep?
At the end of the day, each gorilla constructs a nest of leaves and other plant materials in which they will sleep. Mothers normally share their nests with their small infants.
How do Gorillas reproduce?
Gorillas mate throughout the year. Their birth interval is about 4 years. A gorilla’s gestation is 8.5 months and normally give birth to one baby. The young one of a gorilla is called an infant. Just like humans, the gorilla infants are helpless at birth and weigh around 3-4 1bs. They gradually grow and learn how to crawl at about 2 months. Infant gorillas walk at about 8-9 months. Female gorillas nurse their gorillas until they are a round three years after which they are left to become independent.