The Mountain gorilla is one of the two sub species of the eastern gorilla. One of these populations is in the Virunga Volcanic Mountains of central Africa, within three national parks: in the North West Rwanda; and the Virunga in the eastern democratic Republic of Congo. The other mountain gorillas are found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park one of the best parks for Uganda safaris. The estimated number of mountain gorillas left in the whole world is about 1000 individuals.
Genus, species: Gorilla gorilla.
Size: Up to 6 feet tall
Weight: 300 to 425 pounds
Lifespan: 30-50 years
Habitat: Dense forest, rain forest
Predators: Leopards, crocodiles, humans
Lifespan: 53 years in captivity
Gestation: 8 1/2 months
Mountain gorillas are also descendants of the ancestral monkeys and the apes found in Africa and also the Arabian during the start of the Oligocene. The fossil record provides evidence of the hominoid primates found in east Africa about 18-22 million years ago. Also these fossil records of the area where the mountain gorillas live is also particularly poor and so it’s evolutionary history is not so clear. The mountain gorillas have also been isolated from the eastern lowland gorillas for about 400,000 years.
These have attracted many tourists to come for safaris to Uganda given that gorilla tourism is the main attraction that pulls them to Uganda.
Mountain gorillas have fur thicker and longer than that of the other gorilla species, and also enables them to live in colder temperatures and the gorillas can be identified by nose prints unique to each individual. The males can weigh twice as much as the females. This sub species is on average the second largest species of the primates; only the eastern lowland gorillas, the other subspecies of the eastern gorilla, is larger. The adult males have more pronounced bony crests on the top and black of their skulls, giving their heads a more conical shape. The crests anchor the powerful temporalis muscles, which also attach to the lower jaw; the adult females also have these crests hence less pronounced. And like all the gorillas they feature dark brown eyes framed by a black ring around the iris. These species have greatly attracted many tourists to come for gorilla trekking tours to Uganda.
Where to See Gorillas in Uganda
Uganda protects almost half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas. These great apes are protected in two national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. If you would love these world’s rarest apes, you only need to plan a gorilla safari to these two national parks.
Quick Facts About Mountain Gorillas
Diet: They are vegetarian but supplement their diet with a variety of plants like tubers, flowers, fruit, fungus, bed straw, wild celery, stinging nettles and other fruits.
Predators: leopards, humans and Crocodiles to lowland gorillas.
Behavior: The leader of the group/ dominant silverback determines the movement of the group. It mediates conflicts, and also leads them to feeding areas. However, they are highly social, held together by long-term bonds.
Habitat: Gorilla habitats are dense montane forests with rich volcanic soils.
Physical Characteristics: short muzzles, large nostrils; dark small eyes and ears, large jaw muscles and broad, strong teeth. Coarse, ears, hands, and feet
Gorilla beringei beringei, (Mountain Gorillas) have half of its population in living in the dense rain forests of Uganda. The largest of the living primates and the last member of the ape family known to science has its habitats in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with about 380 gorillas, and the remnant population is shared by three Virunga Parks; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Virunga National Park -Southern Sector (DRC) and the Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda).