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There are two subspecies of the eastern gorilla, one of which is the mountain gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei). The gorillas are divided into two populations. One of them lives in the Bwindi National Park in the southwest of Uganda. The other population lives in the Virunga volcanic mountains and is divided into three national parks:
- Mgahinga National Park in southwest Uganda
- Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda
- Virunga National Park in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Adult mountain gorillas reach considerable proportions: The male animals are just under 2 meters tall and the arms have a wingspan up to 2.3 meters. The weight is up to 220 kg. The female animals are much smaller and weigh around 100 kg. The thicker fur of mountain gorillas unlike other monkey species allows them to live in the relatively cool mountainous regions. Because of the gray-silver colour of the fur on the back of adult males, they are called “silver backs”. The hair is shorter at this point than at other parts of the body.
Most of the time the gorillas stay on the ground. But they also climb trees for food. The long arms, which are longer than the legs, help them to do this. The mountain gorillas are active in daylight from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, spending most of their time eating.
Mountain gorillas are herbivores and prefer mainly leaves, branches and branches of more than 100 plant species. Bark, fruits, flowers and roots complete the menu. The male animals eat up to 30 kg, the females just under 20 kg per day. To sleep, the gorillas nests build on the ground with plant material of the environment, and every day they build a new one.
Mountain gorillas: mother with baby At birth, mountain gorillas weigh no more than 2 kg. In the first few months the newborns stay with the mother, usually riding on his back. With about 5 months they also start to walk. For the first 6 months, they live exclusively on breast milk, and then start to eat plants as well.
Mountain gorillas live in groups of five to thirty individuals that roam the woods. The leader of the group defends so no specific territory, but only his group. Most groups have only one silverback and a few younger male gorillas. The silverback determines where to move, protecting the group from external threats and acting as a mediator in internal conflicts.
Gorilla safaris, gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park
The Bwindi National Park in Uganda, with around 350 individuals, houses almost half of all mountain gorillas living in the world. For gorilla safaris there are four groups:
Mubare group (10 gorillas, 1 gorilla silverback) since 1939
Habinyanja group (18 gorillas, 1 gorilla silverback) since 1998
Rushegura group (10 gorillas, 1 gorilla silverback) since 2002
Nkuringo Group (19 gorillas, 2 gorilla silverbacks) since 2004.
Mountain Gorilla in UgandaTo protect the mountain gorillas, gorilla trekking is severely restricted and strict rules apply. For example, all tourists must be healthy. Due to the strict rules, you should apply for one of the coveted visit certificates at least 3 months in advance.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park means long, exhausting walks through the dense rain forest. Therefore, you should bring along a good dose of physical fitness. The excursions start at 8:30 in the morning. If you want to observe the mountain gorillas, strict rules have to be observed:
Nobody is allowed to enter the national park when he is ill (eg diarrhea, cold)
The tourist group must always stay close together and you have to keep a distance of at least 7 meters to the gorillas
Flashlights are not allowed
You are not allowed to eat or smoke within 200 meters of the gorillas, and garbage is generally to be avoided.
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