Though its well-known that half of the only remaining Mountain gorillas in the world are found in Uganda, which has made Uganda Gorilla Safaris famously known World-wide, it should also be noted that a third of these world’s mountain gorillas are found in the Volcanoes National park Rwanda, and can be encountered by travelers on Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda.
Biologically, Gorillas share 98% genes with human beings. Historically, mountain Gorillas are said to be descendants of the monkey about 34 million years ago. History has it that, about 9 million years ago, primates that were to evolve into gorillas split from the ancestors of the human and chimpanzees. However, there was a debate on the classification of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
The species was first named as Troglodytes in 1847, but renamed to Gorilla in 1852. In 1967, Colin Groves, a biological anthropologist at the Australian University in Canberra proposed that all Gorillas should be regarded as one species, Gorilla; three sub species which include low land gorillas in the west of Virunga, western lowland gorilla and Gorilla mountain gorillas.
These mountain gorillas have been habituated for human presence and available for trekking for the Rwanda Gorilla Safari travelers. They have different facts and some of them fur is thicker and longer than other gorilla species which enables them to live in cold environments.
Rwanda gorilla tracking guests will notice that these apes have a huge mass with thick broad chest and shoulders. Older males have a crown muscle and hair that makes the head look longer and their arms are longer than the legs.
Adult males have a gray or silver colored hair on their backs hence named Silverbacks. The big male silverbacks always lead the groups. Males reach about 6ft 3inches height and weight of around 220kg.They feed on bark, roots, flowers, and fruit. However, they mainly feed on leaves, shoots and stems (85%).
Males eat up to 34Kg and females 18Kg of vegetation per day. They have a life span of about 50yrs in the wild. They are normally shy but social; and very active during day, living in families of 8 – 25. They have up to 25 vocalization sounds used for communication.