Can you imagine staring into the soul of these giants surrounded by lush green forests that make up their habitat….
Of course one of the main tourist attractions to Uganda are the mountain gorillas scientifically know as ‘beringei beringei’ and it’s no wonder as an interaction with these mystical creatures is a once in a lifetime experience. The mountain gorillas are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla and are distributed throughout East and Central Africa. They live within four national parks namely the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As far as their diet is concerned it is surprising that an animal as large and as strong as the mountain gorilla live primarily on plants. These herbivores eat over 100 different species of plant and rarely need to drink since their diet is so rich in succulents from which they get their water. The males weigh up to 180 kilograms with a height of up to 6 feet whereas the female weighs up to 90 kilograms. They have a robust build with long, muscular arms, a huge chest and large hands and feet.. The mountain gorilla is also the hairiest race of all; they have long, thick black hair that insulates them from the cold of living at high elevations.
Gorillas are generally gentle and shy despite their strength and power and they live in groups between 2-40 individuals. The dominant male, the silverback leads the group. He serves as the leader and protector of the group, he decides where to forage, rest, sleep and arbitrates disputes within the group. If attacked by anything the silverback will protect his family even at the cost of his own life.
Mountain gorillas have a slow reproduction rate which makes the species even more threatened. During a 40-50 year lifetime a female might only have 2-6 living offspring. They give birth at about the age of 10 and will reproduce every four years or more.
Although the numbers have improved unfortunately the primary threat to mountain gorillas comes from man and his ongoing forest clearance and degradation. There are many organizations however working together to safeguard the last remaining mountain gorillas but support is still greatly needed. Please support Uganda tourism, in doing so you support the conservation of these beautiful creatures!