Every one of us has the freedom to believe in different theories about humanity and us, the people. It’s no secret that Gorillas and Humans are 98% genetically identical.
I would like to give a little appreciation to our ancestors, the Gorillas. I found the existence of the family tree as no coincidence too, since someone has to climb on it from the family without any help of the evolutionary human inventions, like the leather.
Let’s get to know them a little bit closer. Introducing these fascinating strong creatures, and yet very gentle and peaceful, the Mountain Gorillas from Africa.
What is so unique about the Mountain Gorillas?
These beautiful animals can only be found in the mountains of Africa, in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They can’t stay in captivity, so you can’t see them in the zoos. The only way one can get close to these gorillas is by visiting one of these countries and meet them in their natural surroundings, in the wild. There are only 800 in the world, from which more than 400 live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, East Africa. These animals really like to move. When I say move I mean not only that they like changing countries, like the neighboring countries of Uganda – Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but they don’t stay at one place twice. Every night they sleep in a different location making another bed from the leaves and vegetation in the forest. They don’t sleep in the same bed twice.
How can we see them and find them if they are moving so much? There are professional rangers and their job is: tracking the Mountain Gorillas. This means that they will first find the location of the Gorilla Group in the forest so the group of visitors can see them in the forest.
These tours are called Gorilla Trekking Tours which means that there will be a little bit of hiking in the mountains while following the steps of the Gorilla Groups. In short first tracking, then trekking. This is the most adventurous tour that I know about. It certainly includes a lot of action too. Could you imagine those rangers sneaking at night and tracking the gorillas? How do they do that? I would really like to see that too.
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Only 9 of the Gorilla Families can be visited in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park since the other families are not predictable and are moving to Congo and Rwanda so they can’t be tracked.
They are accustomed to people, a process that takes two years. This means that they accept the presence of people in their natural surroundings. Since they live in the Mountain their fur enables them to live in colder temperatures. Adult males are called silverbacks. Younger male Mountain Gorilla has black back until he reaches sexual maturity when he will develop a silver-haired back. Then he takes the role of a protector in the family group when he starts organizing activities like moving, eating and sleeping. Females become sexually mature at 8 years old. In the wild, they live up to 50 years. These are the biggest and strongest vegetarians that I’m aware of. Since they have to eat a lot of leaves, fruits, seeds to stay in shape this is their main activity during the day, but also they like to have a little nap around the lunchtime and, just like me, they like waking up in the sunrise.
Because of the outstanding biological richness, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is recognized by UNESCO as Natural World Heritage Site. The size of the park is 325 m2 with an altitude of 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level. Bring your boots and a jacket. Here one can admire and enjoy the sounds of around 350 species of birds including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. That’s why in these trekking tours is recommended for the noise to be on minimum so one can have a satisfaction of listening and watching the birds too.
Gorilla Trekking Tours
If attending a normal trekking activity you’ll be able to be with the Mountain Gorillas for an hour. You can choose your preferred Gorilla Group for trekking if booking in advance. Every group for Gorilla Trekking Tours includes no more than 8 people. For these Trekking Tours you’ll have to have a permit issued by the Wildlife Uganda Authority, but in order for the procedure to be simplified, you can choose one of the tour operators to do that for you. Here is the list of the eligible ones AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators). The cost of the permits ranges from 450 to 600 US dollars, depending on the season. According to the Wildlife Uganda Authority if you don’t see the gorillas in the arranged trekking tour you’ll be refunded the whole amount.