Gorillas are man’s second-closest relative after the Chimpanzees. They are ranked as the largest ape primate species containing over 98.5% of human DNA. These gentle species spend most of their life span in the forest jungle however the mountain gorillas are found in the central sub-Sahara Africa. Mountain Gorillas are divided into the genus species of the eastern gorillas subdivided into the mountain gorillas found in the Albertine rift montane cloud forest in the Virunga and the Eastern lowlands in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the western gorillas are subdivided into the cross river gorillas and the western lowland inhabiting in central west Africa. What you should know about these gentle primate species include;
Mountain Gorillas are not to be calm and gentle, unlike chimpanzees. They are shy creatures when looked straight in their eyes but like other creatures, they tend to get angry and aggressive making loud hoots and grunts and throwing stems and other vegetation in case they feel insecure or any disturbances from most predators and visitors. They usually charge when two silverbacks get in contact in one group but the fights are solved slowly by thumbing the ground with palms, chest-beating with cupped hands, one leg kick, slapping and tearing and also hooting too fast. Mountain gorillas live in a troop of over 30 members led by the Silverback as the top leader.
The silverback derives its name from the silver patch on its back as a sign of maturity and protects the troop from any danger. Mountain gorillas have hands with big webbed thumbs and can stand on their two legs and sometimes walk upright. In the process of running, they use both the hands and the hind legs. They adapt to human ways for example Koko the famous female gorilla known internationally for learning the common sign language and over 2000 English words. The weight of the female gorilla is half of the male gorilla and if the silverback dies, the female stays in the troop until a new one emerges and takes over the troop, unlike the Western Gorilla which moves and joins new troops.
Mountain gorillas are known to be herbivorous in nature whereby they diet on foliage such as fruits, stems, roots, shoots vegetables and at a low rate diet on Fruits. They also diet on trapped insects and termites which cling to sticks. These creatures are not friends with the rain and the times hide and dodge it. It’s believed that gorillas don’t take water but only survive from the juice obtained from the succulent fresh vegetables.
These are predominant ground creatures that construct nests for a night’s stay. However these are wild creatures in the jungle, and their sense of understanding is similar to that of a human being. Mountain gorillas normally construct new nests for shelter daily as they keep on shifting from one place to another. Nests are usually made out of Bamboo sticks and soft trees. It’s the duty of a mother gorilla to allocate a comfortable spot for nesting.
These creatures rest during midday and prepare for a long move in the evening gathering vegetation to make nests for a night’s rest.
Gorillas have different vocalizations of about 25 languages. They make different hoots and barks in accordance with their respective groups while in the dense forests. Such sounds made by these creatures indicate a member’s whereabouts, in case of danger, a form of excitement among others. Silverbacks often make screams and roars as a sign of warning and these are normally heard during feeding and resting session.
The role of the silverback in the group is to protect the rest of the group members. Gorillas do charge when they sense a threat from the enemy or a fight amongst each other. In case of conflict resolution, these gentle primate species beat up their chests with cupped hands, make continuous quickening hooting, throwing vegetation, sideway running, one kick and thumping the ground with their palms.
A gorilla’s life span is between 35 and 40 years however researchers came to the conclusion that caged Gorillas are likely to live for over 50 years. Gorillas usually live in a troop of over 30-40 members led by the silverback living communally in the rain forests. It’s the responsibility of the female gorilla to groom the youngsters, teaching somersaults, wrestling and chasing.
Gestation period and parenting
This is the main duty done by the female gorilla to prevent the extinction of these gentle creatures. The gestation period of a gorilla is 257 days and they give birth after 4-5 years. It’s very difficult to tell that a gorilla is pregnant because it has a round stomach even after feeding. Gorillas get pregnant at the age of 10 years. Female Gorillas have low fertility since they have 1-2 fertility days in the month. The anovulatory cycle of a female Gorilla occurs at the age of 6 years.
Different signs are made by the female Gorillas to attract the attention of a male gorilla such as direct eye contact, approaching slowly and pursuing their lips. After reproduction, the female takes care of the vulnerable and dependent youngsters and at the age of five months, the youngsters break contact with their mothers.
Gorillas are believed to be so intelligent with a high IQ similar to that of a human being because of the genetic code of over 98.5% in their bodies. They have hands with big webbed thumbs and can stand on their two legs and sometimes walk upright. In the process of running, they use both the hands and the hind legs. They adapt to human ways for example Koko the famous female gorilla known internationally for learning the common sign language and over 2000 English words.
It’s much fun to interact with the gentle and calm mountain gorillas. Book a gorilla safari to meet the endangered ranked giants in the East African countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.