Mountain gorillas have a very vital role to the environment. The roles of gorillas in the eco system can be explained in different dimensions. Gorillas are massive primates that can weigh up to 500 lbs (227 kg). Unlike other primates, gorillas spend most of their time not in trees but on ground, feeding, grooming and spending most of the time within a family setting. Gorillas are indigenous parts of East, central and west Africa and only exist elsewhere in captivity, apart from mountain gorillas that do not stay in captivity.
There are only four different gorilla species including Eastern lowland gorillas which dwell within central Africa – D.R. Congo river basin, mountain gorillas found in Virunga region and in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda, D.R. Congo and Rwanda.
Other species of gorillas include western lowland gorillas in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of Congo and Gabon and the cross river gorillas that exist along the Cameroon – Nigeria border.
These species all exist within five different kinds of ecosystems, depending on their geographical location; mountain gorillas and cross river gorillas are known to inhabit mountainous forests while western and eastern lowland gorillas tend to dwell in lowland tropical forests.
These massive, famed, fur-coated apes are some of the man’s closest relatives and known to be super intelligent beings which communicate well using numerous vocal sounds.
Mountain gorillas are the most famous of all gorilla species and there are only about 1000 known individuals existing in the jungles of Virunga region and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorillas pre-dominantly live in solid groups, known as families with only one male (several families have more) who is a leader at any one time and several other females. Usually a given family can contain up to 30 members, including infants, mothers, juveniles and more. Just like other wild animals, gorillas equally play vital and sustainable roles to preserve the various ecosystems where they dwell.
First and foremost, the gorillas help in balancing the food chain. Gorillas are grazers which feed on shrubs, roots, stems, and leaves and through eating large amounts, they help in keeping the ecosystem in check. This in turn positively affects other wildlife that share the same area as well as people who depend on the same environment for water, food and other resources.
Gorillas all play a vital role in the tropical forests in which they live. They carry out seed dispersal all through the forest and form places where seedlings can grow.
Gorillas help in seed dispersal within their respective habitats and help create places where seedlings can grow and replenish the forests and other ecosystems. This is vital to the other animals that share the same ecosystem, as well as people who live in the neighboring areas, also help in combating climatic changes and sustainable environments.
Encouraging ecotourism. This is the most social and environmentally acceptable and sustainable way to travel. Through conservation of gorillas, many travelers across the world have come for guided treks, and hence more revenue collected.
It is estimated that a single gorilla generates about $2.8m from tourism income over its entire lifetime. This is a vital way for local communities to be empowered economically and in turn reducing human-gorilla conflicts and poaching.