With a population believed to be on the rise, the mountain gorilla is a conservation success story. Their future is extremely fragile and the work we’re doing through the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) remains as critical as ever. When you choose to go to Uganda for 3 day mountain gorillas trekking, it’s recommended to always find out a few facts about these endangered gentle giants. In this article, we point out some of the facts about mountain gorillas that every traveler out to know.
Mountain gorillas are found in only two places on our planet, these are the Virunga Massif, an area that spans the borders of three countries; Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
The Virunga-Bwindi area is one of the most biologically diverse parts of the plant, where ice-capped mountains meet African savannah. Because of this, there is a huge variety of wildlife within the parks, which include the mountain gorillas. They live in the high altitude montane and bamboo forests at 1,500-4,000 metre elevations.
They’re fussy eaters
With a fully-grown male silverback weighing on average 140-180kg, you might be surprised to learn that they feed mainly on leaves, shoots and stems. However, what they lack in variety, they make up for in quantity. These huge mammals spend over half their time foraging!
Due to their diet, the lush, green forests found in the mountains are perfect for these amazing apes. But, with approximately 4 million people living within one day’s walk of Virunga National Park, habitat degradation for charcoal production and agriculture development, for example, is putting pressure on the natural resources found in the mountain gorilla’s natural habitats.
They’re our close relative
They may be double our size, covered in fur, and walk on all-fours, but humans and gorillas are more similar than you think! Did you know, we share around 98% of our DNA with these majestic beasts?
Just like humans, mountain gorillas also have a unique identifier. Whereas we have fingerprints, gorillas each have a distinct pattern on their nose! As well as our biological similarities, we have geographical similarities too. The landscape where you find mountain gorillas is also home to some of the world’s highest densities of rural human populations. The proximity of humans brings a whole host of potential threats to the gorilla’s well-being, including the spread of disease, getting caught in snares or traps and human-wildlife conflict.
They might be unaware of it, but a habituated mountain gorilla can indirectly generate around £2.5 million during its lifetime from tourist income!
With thousands of people visiting the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda every year, tourism income in this area has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. This has helped transform government attitudes towards conservation. Our work through IGCP includes supporting sustainable eco-tourism initiatives to help protect the gorillas and their environment, and provide jobs and benefits for the local community.
They’re gentle giants
Mountain gorillas are a lot calmer than their sensationalist famous counterpart, King Kong. To respect their natural behaviour and ensure that gorilla tourism is responsibly managed, each habituated gorilla family is visited by just one group of tourists per day and that visit is strictly limited to one hour!
With our latest virtual challenge, climb for your world, we’re giving you the opportunity to climb Mount Sabyino, a peak in the Virunga mountains and see what it’s like to track mountain gorillas for yourself! To take part, all you need is a smartphone with the Strava app, and a nearby hill or mountain for you to ascend. Along the way, you’ll unlock exclusive content, where you’ll be able to see the mountain gorillas for yourself.
The total population of mountain gorillas left in the world in estimated to be about 850. Half of this number lives in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Mountain gorillas are the largest primates on earth. They weight spans up to 390 pounds for males and half about 240 – 250 for female gorillas.
Mountain gorillas do have the same emotions as humans. They can laugh when you tickle them and also cry when you hurt them.
Gorillas hardly drink water. They usually hydrate from eating plants.
Their baby beds are formed by vines leaves and branches.
A newly born mountain gorilla averages a weight of approximately 4.5 pounds.
They gorillas live in groups that might have over 20 members. These troops usually last for over 20 years.
Gorillas often use their four limbs to walk. They hardly use their during all their mobility
Mountain gorillas do not have tails.
These primates are extremely intelligent. Habituated gorillas can use sign language to interact with humans.
Gorillas construct nests for sleeping each evening and once in a while build one for their afternoon naps.
When a male gorilla grows old, its hair of the back eventually becomes silver. This is where the word “Silverback” is derived from.
Gorillas can live up to 54 years of age.
Female gorillas approach their breeding stages after about 10 years.
Females usually give birth after 4 – 5 years with an estimated gestation period of eight to nine months.
Mountain gorillas are very interesting primates. Above are some of those interesting facts that you should know about mountain gorillas. For more inform contact