The Uganda Wildlife Authority earlier this week announced the formation of a new gorilla group under Rushaga. The Group of five members will be called Rwigi led by Silver-back Rwigi. It is now ready for tracking.
However, how wide is your knowledge about gorillas? Strain yourself not. We got you! Here, we have put together a few facts about the mighty gorillas which you might not have known…
Gorillas are predominately herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central sub Saharan Africa.
They are divided into two groups; that is the mountain gorillas living in the mountainous regions and the lowland gorillas living in the flat dense forests of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first population of Gorillas in Uganda is found at Mgahinga National Park which is part of the Tri National Virunga Conservation area, then in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, now the country’s largest natural forest.
Climbing to the top of Mt Sabinio (Sabinyo) a 3,645m extinct volcano in the country’s South west, a point where Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda meet, you can get the perfect view of the vast part of the Mountain Gorilla Kingdom across the boarders.
Gorillas are known to be charismatic and intelligent animals. With nearly 98.3 percent of their DNA shared with humans, they become our closest cousins after Chimpanzees with whom we share 98% of our DNA.
Gorillas use simple tools to execute daily duties in the forest and they have the ability to learn sign language.
These gentle creatures live in groups known as troops or bands and they are led by a dominant male called the Sliver Back. He is identified by a Gray strip of hair on his back.
One band can have up to as many as 50 members although sometimes it could even be just two .
Gorillas’ arms are longer than their legs and this allows them to ably walk on all four limbs.
Mountain Gorillas have longer hair while lowland gorillas have short soft hair.
Gorillas have specific times for different activities for example; mornings and evenings are designated for feeding, middle of the day for napping, playing or grooming one another, while in the night, they retreat to their nests made from leaves and twigs to sleep.
Young gorillas often make their nests in trees and older ones on the ground.
Gorillas also often exhibit behaviour and emotions similar to those of humans like laughter and sadness. Most surprisingly, silver-backs from different troops often fight for females to belong to their troops just like men do.
Gorillas are normally herbivores, commonly referred to as lacto vegetarians. They like eating wild celery, bamboo shoots , roots , fruits, tree bark and stems.
They are known to eat a variety of insects and drink a lot of water from lakes or streams.
A male Gorilla can eat up to 18kgs of vegetation each day, a diet that is about 86 percent leaves, shoots and stems, 7 percent roots, 3 percent flowers, 2 percent fruits, snails , ants and grubs.
Female gorillas have a gestation period of 8.5 months or 9 months and usually give birth to one at a time.
Baby Gorillas weigh about 1.8 kilograms from the time they are about 4 months to 2 or 3 years old.
Young ones ride on their mother’s backs as a form of transportation and their mothers nurture them for several years until they are 7 to 10 years an age where they are seen as old enough to have their own offspring’s.
When they are fully grown, they leave their mothers groups to find mates and form families.