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Home » Volcanoes National Park Rwanda » Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei Beringei), the world’s most endangered ape is found only in small portions of protected afro montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC. The mountain gorilla is one of many species unique to these forests. The forests are also home to many wonderful birds, primates, large mammals, reptiles, insects, plants and also ensure continued water and medical plant resources for the local communities.
Hidden high among the forested volcanoes of east Africa, the mountain gorilla was unknown to science until 1902, when two were first encountered by a German explorer and promptly killed. It set the tone for the relationship. For much of the time since, due to deforestation and poaching, it has seemed that the mountain gorilla was swiftly destined to be lost to the world again. Not long after the species’ greatest champion, the American zoologist Dian Fossey was killed in Rwanda in 1985-there were fewer than 300 of the giant primates left in the wild.
Today nearly half of the world’s 880 remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcanic slopes here are lush with tropical forests and diverse mammal, bird, and reptile species but they are also at the heart of a region in crisis.
Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring. The leader organizes troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s 0.75-to-16-square-mile (2-to-40-square-kilometer) home range. Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas.
Those who challenge this alpha male are suitable to be frightened by impressive shows of physical power. He may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a worrisome roar. Despite these displays and the animals’ obvious physical power, gorillas are generally calm and nonaggressive unless they are disturbed. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny weighing four pounds (two kilograms) and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur. These infants ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives.

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