Gorillas are the largest of the four-great species of the Apes; chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Orangutans. Gorillas are shy, rough with broad chests and shoulders, large human like hands, hairy bodies, hairy faces and small eyes. They are shy and different from monkeys because they are larger, have no tails, have bigger brains and walk upright for a long time. We are closely linked by DNA with the gorillas. They share 98.3% of the human genetic genes which makes them our closest cousins after the chimpanzees and Bonobos which have 98.8% human genes. These have attracted many tourists for Congo safaris just to encounter with the critically endangered gorillas.
The Mountain Gorillas (Gorillas beringei beringei). They have longer and thicker fur on their bodies adapted to their cold mountainous environment. Mountain gorillas are only found within the Virunga conservation area overlapping Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The Eastern lowland Gorillas/ Grauer’s Gorilla (Gorilla beringei gaueri). They are the largest of the four species and have a more blackish coat. They are spotted in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.
The Western lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). They are brownish gray in color. Western lowland gorillas are mostly found in Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Angola.
The cross-River gorilla Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehl). Their coats are typically brownish grey to black and their hands, faces, feet are bare of fur. These are confined in a small area in Nigeria and Cameroon
How do gorillas move?
Just like any other Ape, gorillas have arms longer than their legs and. They have a tendency of walking on their four hind limbs at times. This kind of movement is known as knuckle walking.
What do Gorillas feed on?
Gorillas have flexible diets therefore can live in diversity of environments. Gorillas are herbivores. They eat roots, shoots, vines, pith and fruits. They rarely drink water because they feed on succulent vegetation which comprise of water as well as morning dew. However, some look for water sources and take water although rarely. During a Congo gorilla safari habituation, tourists have chance to watch the gorillas feed, and how they carry on their daily life in the wild.
How do Gorillas behave?
Gorillas display a lot more of humanlike emotions and behaviors. It has been observed that the gorillas laugh, grieve, have a strong family bond, make use of tools for survival in the forests where they reside. This behavior is what amazes tourists on Congo tours as they see humanlike behavior in animals.
Gorilla families live in groups of about 5-10 however they can even live in numbers bigger than that. Just like in a normal human family, the male is always the head. Silverbacks lead their families. They assume leadership and it lead their families for several years.
What are silverbacks?
Adult male gorillas are known as “Silverbacks” because of their silver colored hair on their backs and the hips. The young males are called blackbucks. The females have no special names so they are just called gorillas.
The silverback makes decisions especially where they sleep at night, feeding places, determines their moves. It does so because it must protect the family at all times, even if it costs its life just like human beings do. The silverback tends to be more aggressive, he beats its chest, and charges if he detects any threat. Silverbacks have the right to mate with anyone in the family.
Young males sometimes leave the groups as they become older to start their own lives and family as well as silverbacks heading a family.
When a silverback passes on, the gorilla family disperses to find other groups to join. Getting a group to join is a bit hard so sometimes they wait for a silverback to join them and maintain grooming the young ones.
How do Gorillas communicate?
Gorillas are so intelligent. They have taught themselves a subset of sign language. This helps them communicate with each other. They normally do a nose to nose greeting. Besides greeting, sounds they make may be classified as grunts, and barks. They use this type of communication especially when they are travelling. They scream, make signal alarms especially when warning, most often by silverbacks.
Where do Gorillas sleep?
At the end of the day, each gorilla constructs a nest of leaves and other plant materials in which they will sleep. Mothers normally share their nests with their small infants.
How do Gorillas reproduce?
Gorillas mate throughout the year. Their birth interval is about 4 years. A gorilla’s gestation is 8.5 months and normally give birth to one baby. The young one of a gorilla is called an infant. Just like humans, the gorilla infants are helpless at birth and weigh around 3-4 1bs. They gradually grow and learn how to crawl at about 2 months. Infant gorillas walk at about 8-9 months. Female gorillas nurse their gorillas until they are a round three years after which they are left to become independent.
Where to find Mountain gorillas
Safari Congo to the superior Kahuzi Biega National Park and Virunga National Parks that host the unique species and encounter Congo gorilla trekking safaris for perfect memories, photography for remembrances with one of the cousins that all humans share.