How mountain gorillas adapt to the environment

How mountain gorillas adapt to the environment

Mountain gorillas are a sub-species of eastern gorillas and can only be found in the tropical equatorial forests of Bwindi national park and Virunga ranges at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Scientifically, mountain gorillas are called gorilla Beringei Beringei and listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since the year 2018. In this year, the gorilla population census reported a population of only 1043 mountain gorillas including Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

Mountain gorillas are both primates, currently regarded as the largest apes on planet earth, living in highland areas at an altitude of 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level and this gives meaning to their name. Long and thick fur makes them survive in these cold conditions as the saying states that “the higher you go, the cooler it becomes”. The long fur helps to keep them warm and also protects them from insect bites. Mountain gorillas live in groups called families comprising 2 to 30 gorilla individuals.

Each gorilla family is led by an alpha male called silverback who plays a big role in the group. One of them is to protect the group, mating with all females in the family, searching for food and much more. It gets its name from the swath of silver colour on its back upon maturity stage of 12 years and above.

Mountain gorillas feed on vegetables, fruits, leaves, seeds and insects and stems. This, therefore, makes them survive perfectly in tropical forests where there are a lot of trees that bear fruits hence providing plenty of food for these gentle giants. Gorillas normally feed on fig trees and many more. It’s always easy to find what to feed on and they can eat as much as they can.

Mountain gorillas communicate using body language and vocalization. In case of any emotional situation, a fellow gorilla or any person used to gorillas can easily understand while communicating and expressing their emotions. For example, they make sounds by screaming when they are threatened. They hit their chest when they charge and while scaring away enemies. Sometimes they scream as they run away from enemies.

Gorillas have a behavior of avoiding conflicts and fights and once they detect that there is danger, they tend to just walk away hence their name – gentle giants. They prefer showing that you are a threat and they don’t easily get involved in fights and this has enabled them to live in peace and for a long time in the forest without much confrontation from other forest inhabitants.

They also have fingers that help them gather and collect food. For example, they use fingers to grasp fruits or leaves, they also use the fingers for protection, the long arms are used for locomotion while the long muscles help in movements and gathering.

Mountain gorillas also use tools like sticks to harvest honey, pick insects and many other uses. Sometimes, they use the sticks for protection in case of a fight against their enemies. They have high sense of predicting and detecting dangers before happening. This makes them walk away to avoid problems or being harmed.

The leadership system of a silverback – head of the family enables peaceful stays. He controls the group, plans and protects the group from any possible attacks. The silverback practices general equality for every member of the group.

Are you planning a gorilla safari in Africa?  No worries, we will take you on a rewarding gorilla destination of your choice and you will learn more about the gorilla adaptations after undertaking a memorable gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation tour.