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The life expectancy of a mountain gorilla is between 40 and 50 years. FILE PHOTO/Silverbacks

Uganda is one of the only three countries where mountain gorillas can be found, which is why many travelers come to the “Pearl of Africa” in order to view these fascinating animals up close.

Because Uganda is one of only three countries where the mountain gorillas can be found, many visitors come to the “Pearl of Africa” to participate in trekking tours where they can view these incredible mammals. 

They are unique creatures, and before travelling to Uganda, you should conduct research and gather as much information as possible on them.

Here is a list of fascinating facts about Uganda’s mountain gorillas.

They Value Family

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Ugandan mountain gorillas live and travel in groups of between five to thirty individuals.

Mountain gorillas in Uganda live and move in groups ranging in size from five to thirty individuals. Troops are family groups composed of an alpha male, numerous females, and their newborns or juvenile offspring.

When a male reaches breeding age (often around the age of 15), he will strike off on his own, bringing several females with him to start his own family. Numerous gorilla families are led by a single silverback.

Their population is sparse

The mountain gorilla population as a whole is estimated to number approximately 900 individuals.

Over half of this population globally is found in Uganda, namely in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the latter of which contains the highest concentration of mountain gorillas. 

Tourists can join trekking tours in these national parks to get up close and personal with Uganda’s gorillas.

They Are Distinct From Other Gorillas

While mountain gorillas and other gorillas may appear to be similar, they are not. Not only is the mountain gorilla subspecies larger than other primates, but it also exhibits more physical characteristics distinct from other gorillas.

For example, because the mountain gorilla lives at high altitudes in a cold climate, its fur is longer, thicker, and darker than that of its lowland relatives. Additionally, the mountain gorilla’s limbs are shorter than those of other gorillas, but its nose, teeth, and jaw are broader.

While all gorillas are capable of climbing trees, the mountain gorilla prefers to remain on the ground.

They Are Nomadic Wanderers

Mountain gorilla groups do not congregate in one location. They, like nomads, wander a few kilometres each day in quest of sustenance.

This is why, when joining a safari, you must track a mountain gorilla troop. Mountain gorilla groups also construct nests or beds out of branches and leaves to use for midday naps and sleeping at night as they travel from one location to another.

They Are Not Found in Zoos

Captive mountain gorillas do not survive. The gorillas you’ve seen in zoos are almost certainly from western Africa’s lowlands.

The mountain gorilla subspecies is found only in the high, forested mountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa

They Communicate in Their Own Unique Style

Although the mountain gorilla cannot generate vocal sounds in the same way that humans do, it does possess many vocal noises and gestures that it uses to communicate with others.

During social engagement, grunts, barks, hoots, and hand gestures are frequently employed. Alarms may be indicated by chest-thumping, yells, and roars. Belching is a sign of contentment in a gorilla.

They are Magnificent Gentle Giants

Safari visitors to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest frequently inquire about the gorillas’ aggression and danger. While their enormous size and strength may appear scary, these creatures are more timid and gentle than they are violent.

These gorillas, though, can become aggressive when threatened, thumping their chests and grunting and yelling. 

Additionally, if a mother gorilla believes her infant is threatened, she will battle to the death.

They have emotions, just as Humans Do

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Mountain gorillas are capable of crying when they are hurt or unhappy. PHOTO/ACACIA SAFARIS UGANDA

A mountain gorilla has emotions and is capable of crying when harmed or unhappy. When teased, a mountain gorilla laughs. Young gorillas interact with one another in the same way that human children do, and may even be naughty.

Male Mountain Gorilla Facts (Silverbacks)

mountain gorilla’s lifespan is estimated to be between 40 and 50 years. Male gorillas are considered mature when they reach the age of 15 and begin reproducing. They are referred to as black-backs throughout this historical period.

Their black hair on their backs turns silver as they mature, earning them the moniker “silverback.” The silverback male is frequently the father and defender of his offspring, according to a few silverback gorilla facts.

Additionally, silverback gorillas keep order within their family and regulate when the group travels, rests, and eats. Silverbacks are typically larger and stronger than other males because of their advanced age. 

A silverback is capable of lifting ten times his body weight and even hanging on one arm supporting 400 pounds.

Female Mountain Gorilla Facts

Female gorillas reach sexual maturity far sooner than male gorillas.

Many girls will become pregnant before the age of ten. They typically deliver single infants but can occasionally deliver twins.

Because an infant is frequently nursed and reared for up to six years, the majority of female gorillas will have between four and six children during their reproductive lifespan.

Baby Mountain Gorilla Facts

Because the mountain gorilla species does not have a distinct mating season, infants are born throughout the year.

They normally weigh less than a human newborn at birth, around 1.8 kg (4 lb.). They develop far more rapidly than humans, though, and can sit erect at the age of three months.

They spend their first four years nursing, weaning, and clinging to their mothers’ backs. Through interaction with other infant gorillas, they learn how to interact within the family group.

They Are Nomadic Wanderers

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi’s Rushaga sector is where gorilla acclimatization occurs. FILE PHOTO

Mountain gorilla groups do not congregate in one location. They, like nomads, wander a few kilometres each day in quest of sustenance.

This is why, when joining a safari, you must track a mountain gorilla troop. Mountain gorilla groups also construct nests or beds out of branches and leaves to use for midday naps and sleeping at night as they travel from one location to another.

They Are a Vulnerable Species

While their population is expanding, the mountain gorilla species is listed as severely endangered by the IUCN.

Mountain Gorillas Are Critically Endangered For FOUR Reasons:

  • Africa’s civil war
  • Unauthorised charcoal harvesting
  • Poachers attempting to sell newborn gorillas as pets illegally
  • Several gorillas have been shot by land developers vying for the habitat required for gorillas to survive.

They are Predominantly Vegetarians

While mountain gorillas occasionally consume insects, their primary diet consists of fruits and plants such as bamboo, thistle, and wild celery. 

They can consume up to five hours of food every day and up to 40 to 50 pounds of heavy vegetation. Due to the moisture content of their plant diet, gorillas consume little or no water.

They follow a daily routine

Mountain gorillas are accustomed to regularity.

They normally rise around 6 a.m., unless the weather is chilly and depressing, in which case they may sleep in a little. Once they have awoken, they spend their time foraging for a broad variety of plants to consume. 

They enjoy taking naps about midday and then searching for food again until around 6 p.m. when they retire for the night.

They Make Use of Tools

The mountain gorilla is bright and rapidly learns how to simplify its existence. They will retrieve insects from the ground or hollow trees using twigs and branches.

Additionally, they can use branches to rescue children who have become entangled in vines. Some gorillas have even crossed torrents and streams using logs.

Additionally, they use leaves, twigs, and vines to construct sleeping areas for their kids and themselves.

They Have Distinct Nose Prints

As with humans, gorillas have distinct fingerprints, but they also have distinct nose prints that are unique to each individual.

This function is beneficial in assisting wildlife authorities, doctors, and researchers in monitoring and reporting injuries, illness, strange behaviour, and observed incidences, as well as in tracking births, deaths, and migration. 

This information not only aids in the protection of mountain gorillas and their population increase, but also provides tourists with better knowledge and a more enjoyable trekking experience.

How to Visit Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park are the only two areas in Uganda where you can view mountain gorillas.

The best way to observe them is to join a trekking excursion accompanied by an experienced guide who will demonstrate how to track gorillas using their hoot sounds. 

Uganda’s wildlife authorities maintain severe laws for seeing endangered creatures to safeguard both gorillas and tourists.

The wonderful thing about a trekking excursion is that you can observe other African wildlife species while tracking a mountain gorilla troop. 

The greatest time to see mountain gorillas is during the dry season, which is between December and February or June and August.

We also recommend visiting Lake Mburo National ParkQueen Elizabeth National Park and Semuliki National Park on our Uganda tour guide for a complete experience.