With about 95% DNA similar to humans, mountain gorillas are among the closest wild animals to humans. There are only about 900 mountain gorillas remaining on the planet and half of them are found in Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national parks.
There is a habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga called Nyakagezi.
About Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas live in groups/families of their closest friends ranging from 10 and above. The groups are led by a dominant male mountain gorilla known as a silverback that usually determines the daily activities of the gorillas as well as protecting the group from intruders.
Over 95% of the mountain gorillas DNA is similar to humans and therefore they have typical human beings characteristics. The female mountain gorillas cuddle and take care of their young ones just as humans do. Looking straight into the eyes of the gorillas even makes you feel as if you are looking in the eyes of someone you know.
Mountain gorillas usually move from place to another looking for food and therefore they do not have permanent sleeping nests. They build the sleeping nests where the night finds them.
Mountain gorillas predominantly feed on plant leaves, wild fruits and shoots.
They are very friendly animals however can become very aggressive if provoked. Tourists while on the encounters with these incredible animals should therefore keep a reasonable distance from them.
Mountain gorillas are very vulnerable to human diseases mainly because of having a close DNA. This means that they can easily contract human diseases and it’s why tourists with contagious diseases like flue are not allowed to go trekking.
Reasons Why Mountain Gorillas Are Very Endangered
Civil wars; in the early 1990’s, a civil war broke out in Rwanda and volcanoes national park became a fighting base for some of the rebels. As a result, a number of mountain gorillas were killed on being encountered by the rebels hence leading to a great reduction in the mountain gorilla population. In DRC the wars have constantly been going on which forced the mountain gorillas to shift to Uganda and Rwanda.
The mountain gorilla habitants have also been greatly encroached on by the local people hence leading to habitant loss. This has been all because of increased population and therefore a need to create land for settlement and agriculture yet compromising the survival of the great apes.
Poaching is yet another reason for the endangerment of the mountain gorillas. A number of mountain gorillas were lost as poachers headed to the forested mountains to hunt. Their main target was not the mountain gorillas however the traps they set for other wild animals would often be fallen into the mountain gorillas as well.