Gorilla safaris in East Africa are carried out in Uganda and Rwanda. They have a rich culture and nature, they are also well known for mountain gorilla safaris which is the largest living primate and world’s most endangered ape as well as the most fascinating creature that could ever speak to your imagination.
They do live in groups which consist of about 25 to 35 members and usually there is one leading male which is accompanied by several female and the young ones. At birth, a gorilla weighs on average 2.5 kilograms which is half of the weight of a human baby though it develops twice as fast. Within a period of forty (40) weeks, it can walk and reaching 3 years it slowly becomes independent while at 6 years they are about 1.20 meter tall and weigh almost 70 kilogram then it matures and continue gaining weight for the next 4 years.
Gorillas resemble human beings, their feet are like for human beings and do spend more time on the ground and consequently gorillas are able to walk. They do share about 98 percent of our DNA while their social qualities and relationships within the family are very important, expressing their families. However, despite on their impressive looks, gorillas are extremely gentle and peace loving and in case of danger they stand up for each other to defend the weaker ones while serious fights might occur when two leaders of different groups meet each other.
Considered as the largest great ape are the most endangered species of the great ape, mountain gorillas do live in the afro montane forests in South Western Uganda, Northwest Uganda and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They do live in most impenetrable parts of the tropical forests of East-Africa with over 320 individuals inhabiting the slopes of the Virunga which stretches out from the border area in Congo and over 300 being found in Bwindi National Paark in Uganda which covers about 330 square kilometers.
On reproduction, they do reproduce slowly, thus the world population does not increase rapidly while their gestation period is approximately 8.5 months and gorilla mothers do give birth to a baby once in every four (4) years. In most cases,30 percent does not survive their first year because they are attacked by diseases and accidents while others die because their father dies and another silver back takes over and because of this, this new male often kills all the babies of his predecessor, while securing this own genes in the posterity.
During an ordinary day a mountain gorilla starts at sunrise early in the morning at 6 am and start looking for food which covers quiet a big part of their morning . They do spend 30 percent of the day travelling, 30 percent feeding and 40 percent resting and travel not more than a kilometre per day within their home range of about 20 square kilometers. They are vegetarians though occasionally they may eat insects including ants. Majorly, their meals consist of roots, leaves, stems and pith herbs, vines and fruits and their afternoons are mostly spent resting. At the end of the day before the dusk, they start constructing a nest where they spend the night and every single gorilla has to make its own nest.
Following the discovery of gorillas in 1902 by a German explorer, later an American scientist George Schaller studied these mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes and Bwindi. This was followed on Dian Fossey who became famous because of her movie “Gorillas in the mist”. Before she researched, an estimated of about 450 mountain gorillas were living in the Virungas and only 20 years later, the population was decreased. It is very clear that the mountain gorillas is one of the most endangered species in the world and to make people protect the gorillas, it has been made possible to visit some families.