Interesting Facts about the Mountain Gorillas you will be Tracking in Uganda
Fun and Serious Facts about Mountain Gorillas You did not Know
Here are some Fun and Serious Facts about Mountain Gorillas. Most of them you might not know, but would your Gorilla Trek be more interesting?
Facts such as why you cannot see Mountain Gorillas outside of their Habitat in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, or Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain Gorillas do not survive in Zoos. You can only see them in the wild of Africa in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species. However, they are rebound due to active conservation measures and gorilla tourism paying the way.
Enjoy the Fun and Serious Facts about Mountain Gorillas
10 – Fun and Serious Facts about Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
1. Why are they called Mountain Gorillas?
Mountain gorillas are called so because they live in the high-altitude forests of the mountains in East Africa, specifically, the Virunga Mountains, which straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda. These forests are located at 8,000 to 13,000 feet (2,400 to 4,000 meters) above sea level and are characterized by dense vegetation and rugged terrain.
The mountain gorilla is one of two subspecies of the eastern gorilla, the other being the Grauer’s gorilla, which lives in the lowland forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas have adapted to their high-altitude habitat, with their thick fur providing insulation against the cold and their strong arms and legs allowing them to climb and move through the steep terrain.
The name “mountain gorilla” is thus a reflection of the habitat in which this subspecies lives and distinguishes it from other gorilla subspecies that live in different habitats. Despite the challenges posed by their high-altitude habitat, mountain gorillas have managed to survive and thrive in the wild, thanks in part to conservation efforts to protect their habitat and minimize human impact on their populations.
2. Mountain Gorillas are the Gentle Giants of the Forest and not King Kong:
Mountain gorillas are often referred to as the “gentle giants” of the forest, as they are known for their calm and peaceful nature. Contrary to their portrayal in popular culture as ferocious and aggressive animals, mountain gorillas are generally shy and non-threatening towards humans.
Mountain gorillas are among the closest living relatives of humans, sharing about 98% of our DNA. They have complex social structures and form strong bonds with other troop members, including their offspring, which they care for and protect.
Mountain gorillas exhibit various behaviors, from playful interactions to intense displays of dominance. Still, they are not typically aggressive toward humans unless they feel threatened or provoked. This is why tourists must follow strict guidelines when visiting gorillas in the wild, including maintaining a safe distance and avoiding direct eye contact.
It is a common misconception that gorillas are dangerous and violent animals, perpetuated by fictional portrayals such as the character King Kong. However, gorillas are peaceful and intelligent animals that deserve our respect and protection. By promoting accurate and respectful images of gorillas, we can help to raise awareness about their conservation needs and inspire more significant efforts to protect these magnificent animals and their habitats.
3. Mountain Gorillas do not have a Home – they are Wanderers:
Mountain gorillas have a home range, which is the area where they live and move around in search of food, water, and suitable habitat. However, their home range can be extensive and include visiting other countries, and they do not have a fixed “home” like humans do.
At times, they might even move to another country. It happened with the Nyakegezi Group, which moved from Uganda to Rwanda and returned to Uganda, which they did without passports and visas.
One of the reasons that you track Mountain Gorillas is because they move each day. At the crack of dawn, pre-trackers will go out and find the Gorilla Group you will be visiting and send the new location to the Rangers, leading your group to their respective Gorilla Families that will be seen that day.
Mountain gorillas are nomadic, moving around their home range for food and other resources. They do not have a fixed residence or territory but move around freely within their home range. The size of a gorilla’s home range can vary depending on factors such as food availability, population density, and the area’s topography.
Despite their nomadic lifestyle, mountain gorillas are highly attached to their home range and are known to defend it against other gorilla groups or intruders. They have a deep knowledge of their environment and the resources it provides and use this knowledge to survive and thrive in the wild.
It is essential to recognize that mountain gorillas do not have a fixed home as humans do; they have a solid attachment to their home range and rely on it for survival. Protecting their habitat and ensuring access to the necessary resources is essential for their survival in the wild.
4. The Gorilla Doctors make Forest Calls to keep the Mountain Gorillas Healthy:
The Gorilla Doctors are a team of veterinarians who work to keep the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo healthy. They provide medical care to wild gorillas in their natural habitat, a unique and challenging task.
The Gorilla Doctors perform regular health checks on the gorillas, including tracking them through the forest and collecting samples for analysis. They also provide medical treatment to injured or ill gorillas, including administering antibiotics, performing surgeries, and providing supportive care.
In addition to treating individual gorillas, Gorilla Doctors also play an essential role in monitoring and preventing the spread of diseases between gorilla populations. They work to identify and track outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola and respiratory infections and implement measures to prevent their spread.
The work of the Gorilla Doctors is essential for the conservation of mountain gorillas, as it helps to ensure that they remain healthy and free from threats such as disease. By providing medical care to gorillas in their natural habitat, Gorilla Doctors can the impact of human intervention on these wild animals and help to preserve their natural behavior and habitat.
The Gorilla Doctors are a vital part of the conservation efforts aimed at protecting mountain gorillas and their habitat, and their work is an essential reminder of the need to take a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to conservation.
5. Mountain Gorillas Communicate with one another:
Mountain gorillas communicate with one another using a variety of vocalizations, body language, and facial expressions. They have a complex system of communication that allows them to convey information about their emotions, intentions, and social status.
Mountain gorillas are known for their rich vocal repertoire, which includes a range of grunts, barks, hoots, and other vocalizations. These vocalizations can convey various messages, from friendly greetings to aggressive warnings. For example, gorillas may use a deep, rumbling chest beat to signal dominance or aggression, while a soft, gentle hoot may convey friendliness or reassurance.
In addition to vocalizations, mountain gorillas also use body language and facial expressions to communicate. They may perform a variety of gestures, such as chest-beating, charging, or arm waving, to convey dominance or aggression. They may also use subtler body language cues, such as grooming or touching, to signal social bonds and affiliations.
Mountain gorillas are highly social animals, and their communication plays a vital role in maintaining their complex social structures. They form close bonds with other troop members and rely on touch to coordinate activities such as foraging, grooming, and social interaction.
Overall, the communication system of mountain gorillas is a fascinating and complex aspect of their behavior and highlights the importance of studying and understanding animal communication in conservation and wildlife management efforts.
6. Mountain Gorillas, though massive, is not fat:
Mountain gorillas may be large and muscular, but they are not overweight. They have relatively low body fat compared to other primates and mammals of similar size.
Mountain gorillas are herbivores and subsist on a diet of leaves, stems, and fruits. Their diet is high in fiber and low in fat, which helps to keep their body weight in check. They also have a high metabolic rate, which allows them to burn calories efficiently.
Mountain gorillas are still mighty animals despite their relatively low body fat. They have large muscles in their arms and legs, which they use to climb trees, move through dense vegetation, and defend themselves against predators.
It is important to note that while mountain gorillas are not fat, they still face various health threats in the wild, including habitat loss, poaching, and disease. Conservation efforts to protect their habitat and minimize human impact on their populations are essential for their continued survival in the wild.
7. Mountain Gorillas use Tools to Make Life Easier:
While mountain gorillas do not use tools the same way humans do, they have been observed using a variety of objects in their environment to make life easier.
For example, mountain gorillas have been observed using sticks or branches to test the water depth before crossing a stream or to help them balance when walking on uneven terrain. They have also been kept using leaves or other vegetation as makeshift umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain.
In addition, mountain gorillas have been observed using their hands to break off and strip the bark from trees to access the nutritious inner layer. This behavior, known as “bark stripping,” is thought to be a form of tool use, as the gorillas are using an object (their hands) to modify their environment and obtain food.
While these behaviors may not be as complex as the tool use exhibited by some other primates, such as chimpanzees, they are still evidence of the intelligence and adaptability of mountain gorillas. They can use the objects in their environment to their advantage and find creative solutions to challenges they face in their daily lives.
Overall, mountain gorillas’ use of tools and other objects is a fascinating aspect of their behavior. It highlights the need to continue studying and understanding their cognitive abilities to protect and conserve these endangered animals.
8. The silver coat on a Silverback Mountain Gorilla is a sign of Maturity like a Lion’s Mane:
The silver coat on a male mountain gorilla, also known as a silverback, is a sign of Maturity and dominance, much like a lion’s mane.
Male mountain gorillas develop their silverback coat at around 12, becoming more prominent as they age and mature. The silver hairs on their back give them their distinctive appearance and signify their dominance within their troop.
The silverback male is typically the leader of the gorilla troop, and his size and strength, as well as his silverback coat, help signal his dominance and authority to other group members. In addition to their silverback coat, male gorillas have other physical adaptations that help them compete for dominance, such as large muscles, a prominent brow ridge, and long canine teeth.
The silverback’s role in the group is to protect and defend the other members, including females and young gorillas. He is responsible for leading the group in search of food and water, mediating conflicts, and maintaining social order within the troop.
Overall, the silverback’s silver coat is a sign of his Maturity and dominance and plays a vital role in his ability to lead and protect his group. Understanding mountain gorillas’ behavior and social structure, including the part of the silverback, is essential for practical conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered animals and their habitat.
9. Baby Mountain Gorillas are smaller than Human Babies:
Baby mountain gorillas are generally smaller than human babies at birth. The average weight of a newborn mountain gorilla is around 4 pounds (1.8 kg), and its length is about 16 inches (40 cm). In comparison, the average weight of a human baby at birth is around 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg), and its length is about 20 inches (50 cm).
Despite being smaller at birth, baby mountain gorillas increase and can reach adulthood within a few years. They are born with a fine coat of hair, which helps them to stay warm and protected, and they rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment during their early months of life.
Like human babies, baby mountain gorillas depend highly on their mothers for care and protection. They rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment and are carried by their mothers for the first few months of life. As they grow older, they explore their environment and learn essential survival skills from other troop members.
The early years of a mountain gorilla’s life are critical for their survival, and many conservation efforts are focused on protecting the habitat and resources that gorilla mothers and their young need to thrive. Researchers and conservationists can develop effective strategies to protect and conserve these endangered animals for future generations by understanding the unique needs of baby mountain gorillas and their mothers.
10. The greatest Threat to Mountain Gorillas:
You are invited to an Incredible up-close encounter with the Mount group members. One thing to read about Mountain Gorillas. It is another thing to be with them for one hour, or in Uganda, where you can be on a Gorilla Habituation Experience, which means you are with a gorilla family for 4 hours.
Gorilla Visitors make the Conservation of endangered Mountain Gorillas possible through the permit fees paid. Even the local communities benefit and begin to support Gorilla Tourism and the conservation of Mountain Gorillas.
You cannot see Mountain Gorilla anywhere else in Africa. It is only in Uganda and Rwanda that you can do it safely.
Uganda especially has the best Chimpanzee Trekking in East Africa, plus the Big-5. For most, it begins with time with the Mountain Gorilla, who takes us up on our invitation and joins us soon.
I hope that you enjoyed the Fun and Serious Facts about Mountain Gorillas.