Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Gentle Giants of Bwindi: Mountain Gorillas of Uganda

Gorillas, Chimpanzees, orangutans and humans all belong to the order of primates .Human share98.4%of their genetic material with gorillas and 98.8% with chimpanzees. Gorillas ,the largest of the great apes are divided into three sub species that include the western lowland gorillas and the Eastern low land gorillas. The Eastern and the Western low land gorillas were identified for science in 1847 and 1877 respectively. The subspecies- the mountain gorilla was identified for scientific purposes in the year 1903 and has gone on to be the Uganda's star attraction. Mountain gorillas are distinct from low land gorillas. They are larger ,have more hair ,a short truck,a broad chest and shoulders and also have a longer and slightly different noise shape. Mountain gorillas are born small, covered with black hair and usually weigh about 2.3 kilograms. Gorillas develop as twice as human babies with the mature female mother also under going a gestation period of nine months. They are unique species ,as a gorilla with an infant may not have another baby not until four years. Male and female gorillas between the ages of three and six years are classified as Juvenile. They increase in size and weight at similar rates for the first six years. On reaching six years most mountain gorillas weigh 68kg and usually four feet tall. The female mountain gorillas stop growing taller at around six years where as the males continue growing both in size and in weight till they reach the age of ten to eleven. Between the ages of six – ten the male ones have black hair and are referred to as the black backs. On reaching maturity which is usually between 10- 12 years, they develop silvery grey hair on their backs therefore referring to them as silver backs. The silver backs usually leave their parental group at the age of 11and then moves alone or in the company of the other males for a few years before managing to attract females from other groups to him hence forming his own family .Silver back is a dominant male in a group about 12 or more gorillas that usually include females ,juveniles and other infants. On a good day ,you find them chewing leaves ,laughing and farting not only continuously but with a lot of contentment .They are diumal and nomadic ,sleeping each night in fresh nest built from leaves and branches. Mountin gorillas are primarily vegetarian with their menu composing bamboo, nettles and gallium being some of their favourites. They occasionally eat safari ants which are scooped in huge handfuls to stuff into the mouth until the safari ant bites over power them. Gorillas spend most of their time in travelling and foraging in search for food since plants and trees change with seasons . Gorillas communicate through vocalizations. Twenty- five vocalization have been so far recognized with each one having its own particular meaning. As an element of their socialization ,they communicate through howls ,grunts ,barks and hoots .screams and roars signal alarm or warning and are often produced by silverbacks . They also communicate by beating on their chests or on the ground .This is done to show stature ,prevent fights or even scare opponents . However, even the infants beat their chests as a kind of displacement activity during play perhaps just to copy their elders. Mountain gorilla life is peace full and quite .It is from this that they have come to be Africa's gentle giants which has promoted gorilla safaris and tourism in general These gentle giants are found in the in the areas of Bwindi Impenetrable Ntional park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda while in Rwanda they are confined in Parc des volcans and in Virunga Republic of Congo.

No comments:

Where to See Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla trekking is done in Uganda and Rwanda plus few treks in Congo –Democratic Republic of Congo .Mountain Gorilla trekking is ...