Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorillas found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Mountain gorillas live at the mountain slopes of the Virunga range volcanoes and Bwindi impenetrable forest south-west of Uganda.
Mountain gorillas are close relatives to humans sharing 98% DNA and they also have their nose prints unique to each individual just like humans have their thumbprints unique to each one of them. They live in social structures and entirely feed on vegetation.
Mountain gorillas are endangered because of poaching, habitat loss and diseases. Any death of mountain gorillas threatens their population because they have low birth rates through conservation efforts have been put in places and numbers are increasing compared to the 19th century.
How dangerous and aggressive are gorillas to people?
Gorillas are not necessarily dangerous animals but they need very careful handling, mountain gorillas become very dangerous when they are approached with an aim posing danger or insecurity to them though they first warn before attacking.
When a mountain gorilla feels threatened, they will send warnings by threatening displays of stamping feet on the ground thunderously, beating their chests, grunting, roaring, hooting, moving on hind legs and if the predator or challenger doesn’t prove their not a threat a gorilla will eventually attack.
When a mountain gorilla attacks it can be very dangerous they will do so by vicious bites, thumping badly, scratching, rib cracking, and whipping and sometimes drag them on the ground. Sometimes gorillas can even kill humans when they charge and the people are not rescued in time.
Mountain gorillas are most dangerous to themselves especially when silverbacks are fighting to dominate the group or when a young silverback is trying to take away some group members to make his own family they will fight very violently and injuries can sometimes cause death.
The dominating silverbacks sometimes fight with other male silverbacks when they try to access the females in the group because he is the only one supposed to mate with all the group females without any other male.
In conclusion, gorillas are not dangerous animals but will only attack when their peace is disturbed and after sending several warnings. They mostly attack poachers and people who have not followed the rules of being in the presence of mountain gorillas.
How to avoid gorilla attacks
To avoid a mountain gorilla attack, once the gorilla starts sending warning signs like beating their chests you’re advised to act like an ape itself by crouching down, pretend to eat vegetation, tear vegetation and make yourself small in front of the great ape.
Mountain gorillas also don’t like cameras with flashlights, while visiting gorillas it’s important to be mindful of your flash to avoid making them feel insecure and attack you. Looking direct in the gorilla’s eyes or showing your teeth are some of the things you should not do while with mountain gorillas.
Tourists visiting gorillas should also endeavour to keep a distance of at least 7 meters from gorillas and never attempt to touch because they are wild animals. Gorilla trekking can be done at Bwindi and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo.