Mountain gorillas are one of the rarest animals in the world with their population below 1000. Found in the jungles of Africa, the mountain gorillas are close relatives of humans. Human activities are the biggest threat to their survival. However, their numbers have been rising recently. Read on further for facts about mountain gorillas.
Scientific name: Gorilla beringei beringei
Weight: Males: 200 Kg; Females: 100 Kg
Height: Males: 168 cm; Females: 140 cm
Lifespan: 35 years
Food source: Herbivorous
They play a key role in maintaining biodiversity
They disseminate the seeds of the fruits they eat. They make an important part of the food chain. If they disappear, many other animals species as well as the ecosystem will be affected negatively. By conserving the forests, gorillas also save the native Africans who depend on forests.
Male gorillas are twice as heavy as females
Their height lies between 1.2 to 1.7 meters when they are standing straight. Females weigh upto 100 Kg, while males can weight upto 200 Kg.
They are herbivores and mostly eat bamboo
They are primarily herbivores and feed mostly in stems, bamboo shoots, fruits and bark. They can also sometimes feed on termite larvae.
Mountain gorillas live in groups of 5 to 10 individuals. Some groups may even contain up to 50 members. Female mountain gorillas reach sexual maturity at the age of 8 years, but usually begin reproducing much later. A female can deliver three to four babies every four to six years.
Eastern and Western gorilla species
The mountain gorilla is a subspecies of Eastern Gorilla. Another gorilla species iis called the Western Gorilla. The mountain gorillas inhabit the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests and the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres.
Critically endangered species
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered. Majority of them live in large wooded areas that are close to the national parks. This is why it is crucial to conserve the forests that they live in. They are mostly threatened due to human activities and human transmitted diseases like Ebola.
The dominant silverback gorilla
Male adult mountain gorillas grow a patch of silver hair on their back and hips. They are known as “silverback gorillas”. A group of mountain gorillas usually has a dominant male silverback gorilla and 3 – 4 female mountain gorillas and offsprings.
They are peaceful
SInce a long time, people had built a fierce image of mountain gorillas, the one that throbbed their chest and roared loudly. However, mountain gorillas are a peaceful species that love to socialise and most importantly, they are vegetarians. The only time they are aggressive is when they suspect a threat to their family.
Mountain gorilla communication
Gorillas, especially males, have a wide range of vocal and physical communications. They can roar and scream to deter predators or competitors.
Likewise, they can stand on their feet and forcefully strike their large breasts, which contain air sacs that help produce an intimidating sound. Mountain gorillas can even charge against people or other gorillas if they see them as a threat, which they announce by striking the ground with their fists, in a show of aggression.