Gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo – Africa safaris

GORILLAS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (D.R.C)

It is amazing that Democratic Republic of Congo has both lowland and mountain gorillas. It should also be noted that roughly 880 Mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, and nearly half live in the forests of the Virunga Mountains in central Africa. The gorillas live on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is unfortunate that Democratic Republic of Congo faces seasonal rebel attacks which has constantly affected gorilla in their natural habitat. Along side rebel attacks in D.R.C, Congo gorillas are also suffering from people encroachment leading to destruction of vegetation on which gorillas leave for feeding and habitat.

Mountain gorillas posses longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas. Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring.

The gorilla group leaders (silverback) organize troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves. Those who challenge this alpha male are apt to be cowed by impressive shows of physical power. He may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a frightening roar. Despite these displays and the animals’ obvious physical power, gorillas are generally calm and non aggressive unless they are disturbed and whenever attacked, they make noise.

In the thick forests of central and West Africa, troops find plentiful food for their vegetarian diet. They eat roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny—weighing four pounds (two kilograms)—and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur. These infants ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives.

Young gorillas, from three to six years old, remind human observers of children. Much of their day is spent in play, climbing trees, chasing one another, and swinging from branches. In captivity, gorillas have displayed significant intelligence and have even learned simple human sign language. More so, gorillas are intelligent and are capable of using tools like sticks, stones among others.

Mountain gorillas are mobile and can in Uganda’s Mgahinga National park, Gorillas move from this park and cross to Democratic Republic of Congo and back to Uganda however, this is done on seasonal basis. Gorillas move while searching for food and they prefer staying in peaceful areas which are endowed with food (luxuriant vegetation) and when food exhaust, they transfer to another place.

 Gorillas in Virunga Mountains  

Nearly half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, at the boarder of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

With the help of dedicated wildlife rangers, comprehensive monitoring, and community education programs, the endangered gorilla population in the Virungas experienced a nearly 20 percent increase in the early 2000s. But in 2007, at least ten gorillas in Virunga National Park were lost to murder and chaos.

The low land gorillas:

The eastern lowland gorilla—also known as Grauer’s gorilla—is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. It is distinguished from other gorillas by its stocky body, large hands and short muzzle. Despite its size, eastern lowland gorillas subsist mainly on fruits and other herbaceous materials, just like other gorilla subspecies.

The eastern lowland gorilla makes its home in lowland tropical rainforests in the eastern Democratic republic of Congo.  Throughout the unrest, the gorillas have been vulnerable to poaching, even in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, home to the largest population of protected eastern lowland gorillas. Rebels and poachers invaded the park and people set up illegal mines.

Alternatively, visitors can go gorilla tracking in Uganda or Rwanda if they find it not safe to go to the Democratic Republic of Congo or visitors can even combine Uganda and Rwanda to make comparison between the gorilla families in Rwanda and those in Uganda. All in all, gorilla tracking is un-comparable experience which every human being should enjoy before death.

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