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Can Gorillas Kill Humans?, Are Gorillas Dangerous to Humans

Wondering whether;- can gorillas kill humans or can Gorilla kill people?, You must be wondering, are Mountain Gorillas or Lowland gorillas are dangerous to humans beings? Yes, Gorillas are calm vegetarians but can become aggressive and kill humans when disturbed.

Gorillas are wild animals and despite the fact that they share about 98% of our DNA, with humans, All wild animals are known to be potentially dangerous and should be treated as so.

Of recent Uganda gorilla trekking safari tours have become a trending activity not only by Uganda safari tourists but also by tourists who tailor either Rwanda gorilla tours or Gorilla safaris in Congo combined with a Uganda tour.

However, before the trek, many first-time trekkers ask, “is Mountain Gorillas dangerous to human beings?” Africa has for long been known for the profuse wildlife ranging from lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes, and many more but now gorilla trekking is leading the bucket list, and the security questions about Gorillas are definitely bound to be asked.

A gorilla trekking tour undertaker is required to take some precautions in order to have an exciting gorilla encounter.

A dominant silverback has the strength of several men and isn’t afraid to use it to defend his family. There have been few cases where gorillas attacked and even killed humans, although such incidents are rare and the human was always to blame. Gorillas can attack if surprised or threatened or if a person behaves in the wrong way in front of them or makes an unexpected movement.

Therefore, to have an exciting Congo, Rwanda, Uganda-African gorilla trek tour you’re required to follow the set gorilla trekking rules and regulations when you are with the Gorillas as seen below.

  • Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorillas. This sometimes means moving back, as these peaceable creatures may move in for a closer look. Playful youngsters sometimes want to climb into visitors’ laps. This is as much to protect gorillas as visitors, out of concern that gorillas share about 97% of our DNA and could pick up a human virus for which they have no immunity and which could wipe out the whole population.
  • Please always stay in a group during the visits.
  • Speak in a low voice; you are free to ask the guide question.
  • If you sneeze or a cough, turn your head away from the gorillas and cover your mouth if necessary to cough. One of the chief natural causes of death among mountain gorillas is pneumonia.
  • Smoking, drinking, and eating are prohibited near gorillas.
  • Don’t feed gorillas or any other animal you may meet.
  • Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the instructions of the guide. Don’t run away, it will increase the risk of gorilla chasing you.
  • Don’t touch the gorillas, they are wild animals.
  • Visits are limited to 1 hour/60 minute per gorilla group per day where you will be watching the gorillas foraging, playing, and going about their business of the day.
  • When taking photos, move slowly, silently, and be careful when you walk. The use of flash is strictly prohibited.
  • After the visit, remain silent or speak in a low voice until you reach at least 200 meters away from the gorillas.

When a gorilla Thinks is in danger, it will first make threats/signs including:-

  • Horrific hooting
  • Chest-beating
  • One leg kick sideways
  • Running bipedally
  • Tearing vegetation
  • Thumping the ground with palms.
  • It will then run straight to the victim with great speed and stops, just in front of him.
  • If the human ignores the threat display and surprises the gorilla, it may then show its strength by biting and scratching as well as dragging the victim on the ground.

What to do when approached or attached by a Gorilla

However, if you behave submissively by crouching down and make yourself small, and do not look straight into the eyes of the gorilla it will calm down. Those simple behaviors tell a gorilla that you are not a threat.

Note: No matter what, never run from the gorillas, never show your teeth in front of them, never raise your arms and try to make yourself look bigger, never scream and shout and never thump your chest in return−not even as a joke. Those actions may provoke the gorilla to defend its group and you’ll probably get seriously hurt.

About Gorillas

Can Gorillas Kill Humans
A Baby Mountain Gorillas looking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The gorilla is the largest world living primate and the only great ape facing population increase. Typically, shy and reserved, gorillas are the definition of gentle giants.

They survive in two subspecies of the eastern and western gorilla with each having two other subspecies.

The eastern gorilla has two subspecies of the Eastern lowland and mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei).

Western lowland gorilla and Cross River gorilla are subspecies of the western gorilla.

A mountain gorilla is darkly colored with much thicker longer fur whereas the lowland gorillas have lighter and shorter hair.

It has longer and shaggier fur. A mountain gorilla weighs about 150kgs with a maximum standing height of 1.2–1.8 meters (4–6 ft) tall.

Western lowland gorillas weigh about 180kg, have shorter and softer hair, and stand at a height of 1.7 meters (5.6 ft). Gorillas move in families and in a gorilla family there’s only one head known as the silverback who guards the family.

The lifespan of a gorilla varies depending on the specie and habitat. In the wild gorillas can live up to the age of 35-40 years or even more and in captivity, gorillas can live up to the age of 50 years.

The only way of seeing the mountain gorillas is by going for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Gorilla safari Rwanda or for a Congo gorilla trekking safari.

Gorillas are not aggressive or readily set to cause harm to people. Generally, gorillas are very shy and reserved towards people however, if threatened or when a person behaves the wrong way they will attack.

By behaving the wrong way, it means you didn’t follow the rules and therefore made noise, looked direct into its eyes, beat your chest, or did expose them to flash photography, this will get them cautious.

Before gorilla families are opened up for gorilla trekking they go through habituation, therefore, are carefully exposed to humans in the wild. They will still have caution near humans, but they have learned that humans are not a threat, and they act accordingly.

In the morning of your trek, ranger guides will take you through the gorilla trekking go’s and don’ts and any safety precautions if need be.

You then know that to meet these gorillas interact with humans daily therefore the trek is safe to undertake and makes the experience enjoyable.

The gorillas on the trek are comfortable with human presence. They’re used to being with tourists and guides daily, which makes trekking much safer.

With this in mind, it is easier to enjoy every moment with the gorillas. The gorilla attack triggers include being surprised and threatened.

However, if anything like a gorilla becomes angry how do you tell that you need to be cautious? When a gorilla feels threatened it will react first by making loud grunts and hoots at a distance. If you don’t move away or show “submission” it will escalate its threats by propping itself on its feet and pounding its chest at a very fast rate.

By this time if you haven’t submitted yet, it will charge and attack you with scratches, strikes and try to pull you away. This all comes in as defense when the gorilla feels uneasy. A serious attack from a mountain gorilla can only be to poachers and those who intentionally attack them.

When a gorilla charges towards you what then do you do. The best response is to crouch down, look away, and act casual. They’ll see you as non-threatening and move on.

If you are still asking whether gorillas are dangerous, definitely no!

Either for your Rwanda gorilla trekking safari, Uganda gorilla safari toursCongo gorilla safari tours, or gorilla trekking in Uganda tours & safaris, always remember to follow the gorilla trekking rules such that you can come and explain more to those who ask are gorillas dangerous to people?

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