MOUNTAIN GORILLA, gorilla beringei beringei
Status: critically endangered !
Approximately 880 gorillas left in the hole world.
Population I, 580 individuals, close to volcanic mountain Virunga in middle of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda borders. Population II, 300 individuals, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Height: 1,25-1,75 m
Weight: females 70-140 kg, males 135 - 275 kg
Dna equals 98 % ours..
Although strong and powerful, gorillas are generally gentle and shy.
A group of mountain gorillas usually consists of a single dominant silverback male, three adult females, and 4-5 offspring. There is an overlap in group territories and the silverback generally defends his group rather than his territory.
61% of groups are composed of one adult male and a number of females and 36% contain more than one adult male. The remaining gorillas are either lone males or exclusively male groups, usually made up of one mature male and a few younger males.Group sizes vary from five to thirty, with an average of ten individuals. Most males, and about 60% of females, leave their natal group. Mountain gorillas give birth only every 5-6 years, pregnancy taking nearly 9 months. Young gorillas, from three to six years old, remind human observers of children. Much of their day is spent in play, climbing trees, chasing one another, and swinging from branches.
Main threaths are poaching, habitat loss, disease ( from people) and wars.
Gorilla infants are hunted and sold as pets.. And to be able to rip of the baby gorillas from their mothers, the hole group is often killed at the same.
Virunga is Africas 1st National Park and UNESCOs World Heritage Site - and still multinational companies are planning to start oil searching, which would cover over 75 % of the Park area!
Dian Fossey was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey. She was murdered in 1985; the case remains open.