Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei)

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with an estimated population of less than 800 left in the wild of the whole world and none in zoos. The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei), was not yet known to scientist until 1902. They are the next closest living relatives to human beings after the two chimpanzee species, sharing 97% DNA with us.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

They are vigorously built, with long muscular arms, a massive chest with broad hands and feet.

They are the hairiest and darkest race of gorillas, the long, thick black hair insulate them from the cold of living at high elevations.
Gorillas sometimes walk bi-pedally for short distances while carrying food or in defensive situations.

BEHAVIOUR

Mountain Gorillas are shy, social animals and very active during the day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back), accompanied by several females with their young.

Gorillas have high social qualities and relationships within the family. They express their feelings, varying from loving and hating to shame and jealousy, by at least 20 distinct vocalisations, each with a different meaning, besides beating on the chests or on the ground which is their most common form of communication.

Mountain Gorilla

 

Beating the ground and the chest is mainly done by the silverback with intent to show power and to intimidate others.
Aggression is rarely seen within gorilla families. Despite their impressive looks, they are extremely gentle and peace loving. In case of danger they stand up for each other and defend the weaker ones. Serious fights might take place when two leaders of different groups meet each other.

Gorillas are very intelligent and can form simple gesture sentences and communicate to people.

LIFE CYCLE

Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth. Unfortunately at least 30% do not survive their first year because of diseases and accidents.

Mountain Gorilla

Baby Gorillas also die when their father dies and another silverback takes over. This new male often kills all the babies of his predecessor, securing his own genes in the posterity. When a baby gorilla is born, it weighs on average 2.5 kg and at 40 weeks of age, it walks. At the age of 3, it slowly becomes independent. At 6 years they are about 1.20 meter tall and weigh almost 70 kg. At this age the female gorilla matures, though they continue gaining weight for the next 4 years.

The male mature at the age of eleven to twelve years, It’ at this stage when their black backs start turning grey hence the name SILVER BACK, at this stage, it is time to leave the parental group. They wander alone or join other males for some time, before attracting females who will join them. In this way they form their own family.

FEEDING

Gorillas are herbivores, eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Further, they are classified as folivores. Much like other animals that feed on plants and shoots, they sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites. These gentle giants spend 30% of their day eating. A healthy Silver Back can eat 20 Kilograms (44pounds) a day.

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee, They have up to 25 vocalization for communication

Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).

Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.

Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.

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