Want to learn more about mountain gorilla adaptations? This gorilla species lives in the wilderness of central Africa; In the Virunga Massif Area, an area that shelters the 8 Virunga Volcanoes and the attractions of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. Gorillas have adapted to stay in the mountainous environment and rainforests due to a couple of factors that we are about to look at.
There are slightly more than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world and half of them live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. They live in groups of about 5-30 gorillas led by a dominant silverback who’s the group leader. The mountain gorilla shares 98% DNA with humans which makes them humans closest relatives. They can cry, laugh and play just like humans. They also have Nose prints specific to each individual just like human fingerprints.
The gorilla species was almost extinct in the 19th century. Dian Fossey, an American primatologist dedicated her life to the conservation and study of these primates. Her war on gorilla poachers led to her brutal murder in 1985 in her cabin at the Virunga Ranges. Since then, so many efforts have been made to conserve and study mountain gorillas. Among the studies are gorilla adaptations to naturalistic environments, mountain gorilla behavioral adaptations, mountain gorilla adaptations for survival, gorilla adaptations in the tropical rainforest, mountain gorilla physical adaptations, mountain gorilla structural adaptations, gorilla sensory adaptations, and more.
How Gorillas Adapt to the Environment
Mountain gorillas adapt to cold temperatures in the rainforests they live in. The thick and long fur helps them a lot in the cold protecting them from diseases like cold, flu and pneumonia. The thick hair also protects them from insect bites.
Gorillas have adapted to socialization by use of body language and vocalization. These apes have expressive faces that help them to convey emotions, needs, and desires to other group members. This is one of the interesting behavioral adaptations of a gorilla.
Silverbacks lead gorilla families. This has helped them adapt behaviourally by living in families or groups as the dominant silverback dictates the daily activities like waking up, feeding and sleeping time. The Silverback has the only right to mate with females in the group. If one of the Juveniles or Blackbacks wants to mate, they have to leave the group and join another or form their own.
Gorillas entirely exist on vegetation in their habitats. They feed on plants and fruits because they are herbivores. They have adapted to living in the rainforest because they don’t need to spend their energy chasing prey.
Gorillas have fingers that help them break shells off the fruit. Their thumbs are bigger than other fingers. They also scream or rather hoot and use their arms for fighting. A silverback will fight to protect his family even if it costs his own life. This is one of the interesting gorilla adaptations for survival.
Gorillas love to be secretive. They can easily sense and detect danger and move away to avoid more problems. A few brave ones will confront the threat.
These apes have flat teeth which help them to chew and grind cellulose in their vegetation diet. The bacteria in their colons helps breakdown the food to digestible form by their large intestines and carbohydrates through fermentation.
Gorillas always use their arms for locomotion. The large muscles in their arms help them in gathering foliage and movements.
Gorilla Trekking & Habituation
Mountain gorillas have been habituated for tourism purposes. The habituation process involves a change in their behavior. Gorilla trekking is a once in a lifetime experience you should not miss when visiting Africa. Trekking may take several hours due to the mobility of these primates but as soon as you find them, you have an hour around them. A maximum of only eight people can visit a particular gorilla family in a day. Rwanda gorilla trekking permits cost $1500. Permits in Uganda cost $600 and $400 in Congo.
Gorilla habituation only takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Unlike the normal gorilla trekking, the habituation experience takes a lesser number. You get to join scientists and researchers in the presence of mountain gorillas for four hours. A gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 in Uganda.
The best time of the year to trek mountain gorillas is during the dry months of December to January and June to September. The wet season is likely to make your safari less interesting as it might rain then trekking the trails becomes very hard for you.