Gorillas come from a long line of great apes that are native to Africa. They are typically divided into two groups.
The mountain gorilla lives in the mountainous regions of Eastern Africa, while the lowland gorilla lives in the flat, dense forests of central and western Africa.
Mountain gorillas can only be found in the mountainous Bwindi impenetrable forest National park of Uganda, Mgahinga National Park of Uganda, Virungas mountain region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Rwanda.
Gorillas are generally herbivores.
They mainly eat vegetation such as wild celery, shoots, roots, fruit, tree bark and tree pulp, but they have been known to eat small animals and insects.
A male Mountain gorilla, also known as a Silver Back can eat up to 18 kg of vegetation each day.
Gorillas’ exact diet depends on where they live. According to Sea World, about 67 percent of a lowland gorilla’s diet is fruits; 17 percent comes from leaves, seeds, and stems; and 3 percent comes from termites and caterpillars.
The mountain gorilla eats a diet that is about 86 percent leaves, shoots, and stems; 7 percent roots; 3 percent flowers; 2 percent fruit; and 2 percent snails, ants and grubs.
Gorillas live in groups which are called troops or bands. A troop of gorillas can have as many as 50 individuals, though sometimes it consists of as few as two members.
These troops are led by a dominant male, called a silverback, which can often be identified by a gray strip of hair on his back.
The troop performs different tasks at different hours of the day.
Mornings and evenings usually feeding hours and they spent most of the day taking a nap, playing with other gorillas or grooming one another.
At night, the gorillas settle down in their nests, made from leaves and twigs, to sleep.
The gestation period of female gorillas (time taken for the young gorilla to mature in the womb) is nine months just like Humans and usually give birth to only one infant at a time.
Newborn gorillas weigh about 1.8 kg. From the time they’re about 4 months to 2 or 3 years old, young gorillas ride on their mothers’ backs as a form of transportation.
At around 7 to 10 years, the young gorilla will become mature enough to form a family.
At this point, the gorilla will leave its mother’s group to find a mate. Gorillas can live around 35 years in the wild and more than 50 years in zoos, according to the WWF.
Conserving the mountain gorilla
Gorillas are believed to be very intelligent as they can use simple tools and learn sign language.
Until the end of 2019, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had listed the Mountain gorilla as critically endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species.
IUCN estimated that there are about 680 mountain gorillas left in two isolated populations.
Basing on the 2019 mountain gorilla census, the wild population of these great apes has increased by 25% of 1,004 individuals according to the 2010 census.
Big progress has been achieved in conserving these gentle giants, this is something the international community should be happy with.