About mountain gorillas

Facts about mountain gorillas

Gorillas live only in tropical forests of equatorial Africa. Most authorities recognize two species and four subspecies. The western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) is made up of two subspecies: the western lowland gorilla (G. gorilla gorilla), which inhabits the lowland rainforests from Cameroon to the Congo River, and the Cross River gorilla (G. gorilla diehli), which inhabits a small forested region along the Cross River separating Nigeria from Cameroon. The eastern gorilla (G. beringei) is also made up of two subspecies: the eastern lowland, or Grauer’s, gorilla (G. beringei graueri), of the lowland rainforests of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), and the mountain gorilla (G. beringei beringei), found in the montane rainforests and bamboo forests of the highland terrain north and east of Lake Kivu, near the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo (Kinshasa).
Uganda is a habitat for the half population of the world’s Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The national park areas are found in southwestern Uganda and they are the only best spots for the tourists to these magnificent creatures.

Mountain gorilla  facts

A group of mountain gorillas

Mountain gorilla safaris in Uganda are ranking in the world today. About 36 gorilla groups are in Bwindi National Park but only 15 and 1 in Mgahinga have been habituated for this lifetime experience making Uganda one of a must to visit destination for you. There are four main sectors in Bwindi National Park and they include Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Ruhija sector. Gorilla trekking starts with an early morning briefing at 7:00 am and the actual trek begins at 8:00 am in your respective sectors. During the briefing, visitors are only assigned to one habituated group in groups of eight people per day. Only one hour is allowed for you to strike your imaginations with these Great Apes in their natural environment.

Below are some of the facts about mountain gorilla;
• Gorilla has taken its name from the Greek word Gorilla which refers to ‘a tribe of hairy women’.
• Gorillas are the largest of all primates, this rare animal is listed under the ‘endangered species’ category with only about 600 mountain gorillas alive on the earth.
• The scientist has shown that gorillas display individual personalities.
• Gorillas have been observed displaying emotions such as grief and compassion for other primates, including humans.
• Eastern gorilla is darker than the western gorilla with the subspecies mountain gorilla being the darkest among all.
• Mountain gorilla is the hairiest among all species. However, hands, feet and face of any gorilla are hair-free.
• The skull of a male gorilla forms a bony ridge as it reaches the age of maturity. This changes its head into a dome-shaped one.
• Gorillas live in fairly stable social groups comprising of one adult male usually referred to as the silverback (because of the silver hair on his back which signals full adulthood) and multiple females with juveniles and infants. When young males reach the age of 8-11 they will usually emigrate away and either join another group or form new groups.
• Gorilla family groups each live within relatively small areas of land. Different groups can, however, occupy converging areas and co-exist peacefully.
• Gorillas will groom each other by combing each other with their fingers and teeth. This ‘social grooming’ is an important aspect of gorilla groups which helps to establish and reinforce social bonds.
• Gorillas are mainly herbivorous, with the majority of their diet consisting of leaves, shoots and stems, some fruit and some small animal prey such as grubs, caterpillars, snails, termites, and ants. Western Lowland gorilla diets have a much higher proportion of fruit.
• African apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos) diverged from a common ancestor about 5 million years ago and belong to the family Hominidae.
• Gorillas are one of our closest living relatives, after chimpanzees and bonobos. They share between 95% and 99% of our DNA!
• Gorillas and chimpanzees walk quadrupedally (on all fours) and use their knuckles to carry the weight of their head and torso.
• Gorillas were seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild in 2005. They were observed using sticks to test the depth of muddy water and to cross swampy areas.
• In Mountain gorillas, the ‘belch vocalization’ is a contact call and sign of contentment while foraging. Most gorillas will use a low grumbling sound to both locate each other and assign of contentment. Aggressive displays, such as the beating of chests and charging are quite rare but will be used by male gorillas as a warning if surprised or threatened.
• Although gorillas are generally quiet, they have a range of complex vocalizations that are used to communicate information in numerous contexts including teaching survival skills to young, searching for food, and during courtship. Like some other apes such as chimpanzees and orangutans, they are even capable of learning basic human sign language.
• Gorillas have analytical skills that help them find solutions to different problems. For instance, they can use a branch of the tree to make a way in the muddy or watery region, and also use them as tools.
• Females will start giving birth at about 10 years old and will have offspring every 3-4 years. When in oestrus she will be able to conceive for only three days in the month.
• Gorillas have a gestation period of nine months like humans, but babies usually weigh less than humans at approximately 4 pounds, their development is however roughly twice as fast.
• Gorillas spend a good deal of their time on the ground rather than in the trees and will make new nests on the ground each night.