Where do mountain gorillas live?
There are two subspecies of the eastern gorilla—mountain gorilla and the Grauer’s gorilla. Eastern gorillas live in the mountainous forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, northwest Rwanda, and southwest Uganda. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. The Grauer’s gorilla are endemic to the forests of the Albertine Rift in eastern DRC.
Tags: Mountain Gorilla, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Virunga
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What is a mountain gorilla?
This great ape is one of two subspecies of the eastern gorilla and the largest of the living primates. They have muscular arms, a massive chest, and broad hands and feet. Their thick black hair helps insulate them from cold weather. This gorilla has longer hair and shorter arms than its lowland cousin.
The silverback protects what matters most.
Mountain gorillas are tremendously social and live in groups of 2 to 40 led by the silverback, a dominant male that is the chief leader and protector. The majority of males leave their biological group around 11 years old. Some move alone and others travel with other males for a few years until they attract females to join them. The silverback leads the group to the best spot for feeding and resting throughout the year. Generally, conflicts are resolved through standoffs and intimidating behaviors meant to frighten intruders away without causing physical harm. However, almost 10 times stronger than the biggest American football players, a silverback protects its group from attacks by humans, leopards, or other gorillas—even if it means sacrificing his own life.
Mountain gorilla infants develop twice as fast as humans.
The female usually gives birth when she turns 10 and has offspring every four or more years. Newborns are weak and weigh only about four pounds. Their first movements are awkward, like a human infant, but they develop almost twice as fast. Infants nurse and are gradually weaned after they turn three when they are more independent. Mountain gorilla infants have been a principle focus for poachers.
Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores.
Even though they eat like football players, their diet is made up of more than 10 different species of plants. This great ape favors celery, thistles, wood, and roots. And it rarely needs to drink since it gets most of its water from the plants it consumes.