The world’s only remaining mountain Gorillas living in the wild can only be encountered in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.
What are mountain gorillas?
As one of the gentle great apes, mountain Gorillas are the largest in size of the living primates. With muscular arms, gigantic chest, and large hands and feet. They have thick black hair that helps insulate them from cold weather.
Mountain gorillas live in groups of two to 40 led by the silverback that is there to protect what matters most, a dominant male that is the chief leader and protector. Close to 10 times stronger than the biggest American football player, the silverback protects its family from any outsider or attacks by humans, leopards, or even other Gorillas—even if it would take sacrificing his own life.
And for the female mountain gorillas, they usually give birth after making 10 years and from there continue giving birth every after four or more years. Their newborns are usually weak and weigh up to just only about 4 pounds with awkward first movements just like human infants, but they grow almost twice as fast. Infants keep hanging onto their mums and are slowly weaned after turning 3 years old, when they are more self-standing.
Though mountain Gorillas are known to eat a lot, their food is made up of more than 100 different species of plants, making them primarily herbivores. And, they rarely need a drink to supplement their food since they get most of water they need from those plants.
With currently just less than 1,000 mountain Gorillas left in the wild, there is challenge of humans pushing these mountain Gorillas out of the wild and into extinction. And the biggest threats to these critically endangered gentle giants come from deforestation and the region’s day by day growing population. As people move closer to where these mountain Gorillas live, it makes them vulnerable to catching human diseases such as flu, pneumonia, or even ebola.
The future of these gentle giants is also marred by conflict, the civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) led to the loss of more than five million lives since 1998. The mountain gorillas are caught in the middle of this civil crisis.
And currently the locals heavily depend on the natural resources and wildlife-based tourism like Gorilla safari tours for their welfare. And now the future of these mountain gorillas will be closely linked with the peace and development of this region.
Showing the critically endangered mountain Gorillas your support
With our support, we can continue to conserve the critically endangered gentle giants of the jungle’s population through a number of ways like working with rangers and engaging communities in conservation tourism.