About Mountain Gorillas

About Mountain Gorillas

Gorillas are the world’s largest living primates that can only be found in East, Central and west Africa which are divided into two species of Eastern gorillas and Western gorillas. The Eastern gorillas are further sub divided into Mountain gorillas and Eastern low land gorillas while the Western gorilla is sub divided into Western gorillas and Cross river gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are an endangered sub species of Eastern gorillas inhabiting the Virunga range volcanoes straddling across Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda.

Mountain gorillas were listed by IUCN as an endangered species with only about 1004 individuals left in the wilderness. Mountain gorillas cannot survive for long in zoos the reason why their natural habitat should be protected.

Mountain gorilla numbers have kept on decreasing throughout the years due to habitat loss, poaching, natural disasters and many other factors but due to conservation methods being put by all the above countries where mountain gorillas live in, numbers are increasing in the recent years.

Mountain gorillas live in families of 5-30 individuals or even more led by an alpha male known as a silver back usually the mature male in the group, the silverback is the only male that can access all the group females, dictate on where the group can eat and drink from and protects the group from any form of harm even if it will cost their life.

Though mountain gorillas are calm and gentle animals, they can become aggressive and extremely dangerous when they feel disturbed and insecure. Mountain gorillas are also very intelligent animals that use various ways for communication like vocalisation, face impressions and so much more, they have also been observed using tools like sticks for collecting termites in holes and measuring the depth of a stream or a river and they also use logs for crossing water logged areas.

Mountain gorillas start foraging early morning at 6am and take a little rest around midday before they get back to foraging until 7pm in the evening, males can eat up to 30 kilograms of vegetation in a day while females can eat up to 18 kilograms. Their diet is mainly composed of fruits, leaves, bamboo shoot, stems, tree barks, stems and sometimes insects, termites and ants. Mountain gorillas usually don’t drink water because the highest percentage of the foods they consume is composed of water.

Mountain gorillas have a low birth-rate producing only 2-6 offspring’s in a lifetime, females always mature sexually at an earlier age compared to males and half two fertile days in a month, once they conceive the gestation period is eight and half months.

When baby mountain gorillas are born, they are vulnerable just like human babies depending on their mothers for everything and feed on breast milk, the babies cling to their mother’s stomachs or backs and depend on them for protection and also sleep in the same nests with their mothers until about the age of four years when they can sleep in their own nest though close to their mothers.

Mountain gorillas build new nests everyday using leaves and tree branches even though the nest of the previous day is close and sometimes they build nests on top of trees in case it rained, for unknown reasons gorillas are afraid of caterpillars and chameleons, baby gorillas fond of playing with any crawling thing they come across will always avoid caterpillars and chameleons.

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