Mountain gorillas are the largest primates in the Word. Alarming fact is that mountain gorillas are among the rarest animal species, with fewer than 900 left in the whole world! They live only in Africa, in only one mountain forest in the world and it is on border of three countries – DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. (You can visit them with our Travel agency! Check HERE)
Uganda Wildlife Authority still offers unique opportunity for Gorilla tracking tours. Visitors can meet families of these incredible, intelligent and irenic beings in their natural environment. Part of the permit fees go to gorillas support and protection. Close contact with humans has led to gorillas contracting human diseases, often with worse severity. Even the common cold has been known to kill mountain gorilla.
Here are some very interesting facts about these fascinating mammals
- Gorillas are special primates sharing over 98% of their DNA with humans. And also just like humans, mountain gorillas also have a unique identifier. Instead of fingerprints, gorillas each have a distinct pattern on their nose!
- Mountain gorillas are social beings. They stay in families just like humans. They travel in groups of 5 to as many as 30. These groups are led by only one main male who is referred to as the “silverback”. Females have strong long term relationships with males, but not with females. Females start producing from the age of ten and they can carry one or two babies at a time and give birth after an eight and a half month gestation period. In general they will bear between two and six offspring in a lifetime.
- Gorillas have human emotions and can laugh when tickled and cry when hurt. They are very intelligent and those that have been habituated have been taught sign language to communicate with humans.
- Fully-grown male silverback weighing on average 140-180 kg, you might be surprised that they feed mainly on leaves and stems and rarely drink water. Their life expectancy is up to 53 years.
- Mountain gorillas are as shy as they are strong. Locals living near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park know this for a fact! A mountain gorilla will never chase you when you are facing it and looking directly into its eyes. However, you should know that when threatened they can be aggressive. They beat their chests and let out angry grunts and roars. Group leaders will charge at the threat and mothers will fight to the death to protect their young.