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Rwanda Mountain Gorilla – 3 Days

There can be a few experiences in the world more memorable and magical than an encounter with a mountain gorilla. Rwanda is blessed to be among the few countries

that happen to be a home to  the few remaining mountain gorillas in the world. There are thought to be around only 1000 mountain gorillas’ world wide today and all found in small areas of east Africa straddling the boarder of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo with none in the Zoo.

CONSERVATION HISTORY:

Rwanda is the premier destination to track these giants besides Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Oscar Von Beringe a German officer was the first European to encounter the mountain gorillas; he decided that some thing must be done to preserve the population of these magnificent creatures, and in 1925 he persuaded the Belgian government to create Africa’s first protected area , Albert National park(now volcanoes national park). The first scientific study of mountain gorillas in the virunga volcanoes was undertaken by George Schaller in 1959. And later his work was continued by Dian Fossey from 1967 she studied the behaviors of mountain gorillas for a period of over 18 years and her story has been made the subject of her film, Gorillas in the Mist. But she was later murdered in December 1985, most likely by poachers with whom she had made her self very unpopular.

SIZE :

Gorillas are one of the largest of the great apes and share about 97% of their biology with human; the other three are chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Great apes are different from monkeys for a variety of reasons; they are larger, walk upright for a longer period of time, don’t have tails and have more developed brains.

GORILLAS AS A GENUS:

Gorillas are divided into two species and that is the Eatern Gorillas and the western Gorillas.  Each species is the further divided two tow there by making four subspecies of western lowland gorillas, the eastern lowland gorillas, the mountain gorillas and the Cross River gorilla. Western lowland gorillas inhabit Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, eastern DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola Eastern lowland gorillas are found in part of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and sometimes visit the areas one borders of  Uganda and Rwanda with D. R. Congo, while Mountain gorillas can only be found in the forest of bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda and the slopes of virunga volcanoes in Rwanda. The mountain gorillas are distinguished from there lowland relatives by there broader chest, longer black fur , and a wider jaw, they also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas and as their name suggests, they can only be found in Forested Mountains.

MOUNTAIN GORILLA TRACKING:

Rwanda has the easiest groups to track in the virunga volcanoes as it’s a 3hours drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. And the habituated gorilla groups are a little easier to reach from Rwanda side, than those living in the same mountain range in Uganda and the democratic Republic of Congo (just a cross the boarder). Although however much it’s easy to reach to the gorillas in Rwanda, tracking gorillas takes some effort. The bush is thick with stinging and burning nettles, the slopes of the mountains are steep and muddy. But all this is unforgettable for the one hour you spend with this giant species as they are fabulous fan to watch while doing their daily activities.

BEHAVIOR AND SAFETY OF MOUNTAIN GORILLAS:

Mountain gorillas are shy, but when in danger, they can be aggressive. They beat their chests and let out angry grunts and roars. Group leaders will charge at the threat. Mothers will fight to death to protect their young ones. And the silverback will strongly fight to protect the group. Mountain gorillas of Rwanda live in groups of up to 6-12. The group is led by a single male, called silverbacks because of the distinctive silvery fur growing on their back and hips when they mature at least 12 years olds , these silverback scares away other animals by standing on their back legs they  decide all activities within their troop. They schedule feeding trips, resting time, and travel. These troops also include several younger males, adult and juvenile females, and infants. Females always give birth at about 10 years and will have more offspring every three or four years and give birth after an 8.5-month gestation period ad it produce a single young, twine cases are so rare in gorillas. A male gorilla begins to breed between 12 and 15 years, when he is in charge of his own group. Young male gorillas called blackbucks usually leave their family group when they are about 11 years old and have their own family group by the age of 15 years old. Young female gorillas join a new group at about 8 years old.
A Fully-grown male mountain gorilla can weigh up to 180 kg (400 lb). Females weigh half that at about 90 kg (200 lb)

DIET

; Gorillas although eat a variety of plants, favorites include wild celery, bamboo, thistles, stinging nettles, bedstraw and certain fruit. These plants seem to provide sufficient moisture so that gorillas do not need water. And they are known to be herbivores as they spend most of their day foraging for food
These species live between 40 to 50 years and an adult gorilla is about 1 meter tall to their shoulders when walking on all fours using their arms and their legs.
There are 9 gorilla groups in Rwanda these include the Susa, group 13, kwitonda, Amahoro, karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Agashya,Omubano,Hirwa.

Threats

Gorillas are threatened by human activities such as poaching for the bush meat and diseases like Ebola, wild animals like lion, leopards also attack and kill most especially the young gorillas. They are also affected by climate change especially that live in higher elevations like mountains.

Why not plan your rwanda gorilla tour today and support Gorilla conservation in the Wild in Rwanda today for future generations.

Gallery

Gorilla gorilla beringei
Mountain gorilla
Family at play
Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

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asafaRwanda Mountain Gorilla – 3 Days