10 Interesting Facts About Mountain Gorillas

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Mountain Gorilla

Are you primatologist, conservationist or trekker? Are there some facts that you know about the rare mountain gorillas or you are interested in exploring more about them.

1. Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the Number 1 Wildlife Experience

Globally, there are very few wildlife species that you can think about or dream of sparking your imaginations except striking your eyes with an elusive, dramatic group of rare mountain gorillas as they relax in the jungles. Spending an hour with these magnificent apes while on face to face encounter is such a magical encounter that comes once in a lifetime. Mountain gorillas feature as the second biggest of the all the primates that still thrive on earth and it is the last ape family that is recognized by science. Majority of gorillas thrive mainly in thick forested areas of Africa and only in southwestern Uganda (mainly in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), northwestern Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (the Virunga National Park).

2. Mountain Gorillas Are Endangered

The IUCN has put the mountain gorillas off the list of Critically Endangered Animals. However, there is still need for scientists and conservationists to learn more about the life of these rare creatures on earth. About 1000 of these unique apes are now on earth and they are still listed under the IUCN Redbook as the most critically endangered species.

Despite this, mountain gorillas are still highly threatened species on earth and the most severe threat to the lives of these rare apes is mainly habitat loss due to the continued encroachment to the habitat for the fertile soils for them to cultivate. In Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC, a regional conservation program sighting the significance of keeping the virgin tropical rain forest watershed and the need to habituate some gorilla families to boost visitor exploration has resulted into increased encroachment.

3. Mountain Gorillas are the Largest Apes!

Mountain gorillas are large primates with thick trunk and broad chest and shoulders. The eyes and the ears are dwarfed by its huge head and hairless, shiny black muzzle. The grown up males develop a crown of muscle and hair which makes their heads to appear even longer. The arms are longer than the stubby legs. The fully grown male mountain gorilla grows even twice the size of the females. Males weigh about 195 kilograms and can stretch up to 150 centimeters in height while females weigh around 100 kilograms and can stretch up to 30 centimeters. They are also differentiated using their nose prints which are rare from each other.

4. Mountain Gorillas Live in Families

Mountain gorillas are very shy and retiring rather than ferocious and treacherous. They normally look no trouble unless they are irritated but still they can defend themselves in the family. Groups of these apes are close knit and can range up to 30 individuals or even smaller than that and comprises of at least one adult gorilla mainly called silverback plus one or several females and infants/juveniles. They have strong attachments to members of their own families and even when the family meets and mixes and split, each of them has to remain with its respective unit.

5. A Gorilla Family is Headed by the Silverback

A mature male gorilla is known as a silverback-the name derived from its silvery gray hairs that grow on their backs and they play a great role towards safety and protection of their family members from any kind of attacks or threats from intruders.

6. Gorillas Are Nomadic

They usually roam with a range of 10 to 15 square miles while feeding and resting the entire day. Because they are nomadic, these apes construct new nests on tree branches every day for them to sleep. In case of any attack/threat, gorillas charge against any sort of such behavior, they scream, grab foliage and stuff them in their mouths; they can stand straight on their legs, tear up and throw plants, bit their chests with hands, strike the ground with the palms of their hands and gallop in a mock attack.

7. Mountain Gorillas Are Vegetarian

These rare apes require more food and they are mainly vegetarians and their diet depends on largely wild celery, thistles, bamboo, stinging nestles, bedstraw and some fruits. The plant species that they depend on offer adequate moisture and they don’t need to overlook for water.

8. Mountain Gorilla Numbers Grow Slowly

Mountain gorillas are also known for their slow reproduction rate with females giving birth at the age of 10 and take at least 3-4 more years. The males start breeding from 12 to 15 years when they are the heads of their own families. The females can conceive for about 3 days each month and give birth to one infant at a time though they can also give birth to twins but this is on rare occasion. The newly born gorillas tend to be very weak and very small weighing at least 4 pounds. They have awkward movements and around 3 to 4 months, they can sit upright and even stand with support. They can suckle for around a year and gradually weaned for at least 3 and half years when they are independent.

9. Mountain Gorillas Have Predators

Their predators are the leopards and humans, while crocodiles are potential enemies to the Eastern lowland gorillas. Gorillas are always haunted for their meat or in retaliation for crop raiding and they have become victims of wire snares and traps that are set targeting for small antelopes and other bush animals. Poachers have also continued destroying their whole groups as way to capture their infants to take to the zoos and others are just killed for their heads and hands to be used as trophies.

In conclusion, mountain gorillas are a few rarest and dramatic primates in the world and trekking these apes while in the wild rewards visitors with magical experiences. Learn about gorillas at mygorilla.org, a resourceful about gorillas in Africa.

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