There are approximately only 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world. All dwelling in only four African national parks situated in the Virunga massif in central and East Africa. The Virunga massif is a series of eight volcanoes shared by three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ranges are carpeted with tropical rain forests that make them a perfect home for the mountain gorillas.
More than 700 mountain apes live in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park, this is almost three quarters of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas making Uganda the best gorilla destination of the three countries. The other gorillas are found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park in DR Congo.
Gorillas have several adaptations that allow them to survive in the rainforests. Possessing 98% of human DNA, it’s a common question that how do mountain gorillas adopt to their environment.
The herbivorous nature of mountain gorillas makes it easy for them to adapt to the rain forest environment. Gorillas feed on tree leaves, plant stems, fruits and roots, making it very easy for them to find what to eat while in the tropical forests. Perhaps if they were carnivores, they wouldn’t be staying in the forest. The gorillas staying in the dense vegetation also saves them the burden of walking long distances in search for food.
The long and thick fur helps the mountain gorillas in temperature regulation, it keeps them warm amidst the tropical forests up in the mountainous areas. The fur on the skin also protects the gorillas from insect bites.
The leadership system. The silverbacks heading the gorilla families has enabled peaceful stays of the gorillas while in the jungle. The dominant silverback dictates the daily activities like the feeding, sleeping and wake up time. It’s only the silverback to mate with the females, if one of the black backs wants to mate, he has to leave for another gorilla family.
The mountain gorillas have also adopted to the use of body language and vocalization as a way of socializing. These beautiful apes use expressive faces to show their emotions, desires and needs to the colleagues. This is a very moving behavioral adaptation of the gorillas that is worth beholding.
Gorillas have fingers to help them gather and prepare what to feed on. They use the fingers to shell off the fruits, stems or even uproot roots. They also use the fingers to fight for protection, a silverback would fight to death just to ensure the safety of his family. The long arms are used for locomotion. The huge muscle in their arms enables easy foliage gathering and movements.
The secretive nature of the mountain gorillas helps them to easily sense and detect danger so as to walk away to avoid problems. These are very gentle forest creatures that only a few mountain gorillas are brave enough to attack the threat.
These are all interesting behavioral adaptation that trekkers enjoy watching while on any gorilla trekking safari in Africa. Note that on any trek, tourists must be with gorilla permits, costing 1500 USD in Rwanda, 600 USD in Uganda and 400 USD in DR Congo.
Gorilla trekking can be done all year round but the best seasons are the dry months of June to September and December to February. In such seasons, there are lower chances of rain fall to interfere with your trekking experience while in the forest. You can book a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo with any registered and reputable tour company. Be sure of selecting the best gorilla safari company, remember it’s the tour operator to make or spoil your trip in Africa.