What you need to know about silverback mountain gorilla
The biggest and most powerful living primates in the world, mountain gorillas live in a family/group, family is led by a dominant large male Silverback, among primate’s mountain gorillas are the largest and strongest primates on earth, followed by chimpanzees and bonobos mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans sharing 98% DNA with humans.
Mountain gorillas are only found in three East African Countries which are Uganda, Rwanda, and DR-Congo, there are other subspecies of gorillas but in this article, we are talking about mountain gorilla silverback. The current population of the mountain gorilla is 1,063 living in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DR-Congo, and in both Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgainga gorilla national park in western Uganda.
There is an increase in the mountain gorillas population because poaching, human diseases, and destruction of gorilla habitat have reduced considerably which is one of the main factors contributing to the increment in mountain gorilla population in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR-Congo though there are still many challenges in DR-Congo side because of civil war along Virunga national park, apart from that the conservationist in Uganda and Rwanda are doing a good job.
What is the lifespan, height, size, and weight of a silverback mountain gorilla?
Mountain gorillas live in families more like humans led by a dominant male adult Silverback, normally Silverback gorillas are distinguished from others by a grayish-white hairline around their back and shoulders. A male silverback gorilla is much bigger than a female gorilla, for example when you compare an adult male silverback and an adult female gorilla, a male silverback has a bigger body, hands, and head, and it’s physically too strong it can weigh about 250 kilograms depending on the age while adult male gorilla will be considered as an adult at the age of 8 years.
When female gorillas reach the adult stage at 8 years, this is the time when they can choose to leave the family and join other families looking for male gorillas. For the male gorilla to reach a level of a silverback it is usually at the age of between 10 to 13 years, at this age they are still referred to as fully grown adult gorillas as they become silverbacks when the hair on their back and across the shoulders changes color from black to whitish others call greyish hair.
In the family/group of gorillas, there can only be one head of the family who is the dominant silverback, sometimes you can find one family with more than one silverback gorilla, for example, the Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mghinga national park but still the dominant silverback is the leader of the family and it has all rights authority and his dissension cannot be challenged because he dictates whatever is to be done in the family including when to eat, move, where to stay or rest and most importantly the dominate silverback gorilla has all the right to mate/have sex with all the females in the family.
If any other individual gorilla in the family/group wants to mate/have sex they must do it in hiding so that the dominant silverback doesn’t see them because the silverback controls every movement and all activities in his family/group. A family of gorilla starts from about 7 individuals to 35 individuals, gorilla family includes adult females, adult males, adolescents/juveniles, and infants but at some stage, some females will leave the family and join other families when they reach maturity so that they don’t mate with the father or brothers.
How big and what is the strength of a silverback gorilla?
About the strength of silverback gorilla, Adult and fully grown silverback gorilla is about 10 times stronger than an adult strong man and it also weighs about twice the weight of an adult strong man.
Can a silverback gorilla be aggressive?
Yes, a dominant silverback gorilla can aggressive if it senses danger or threat because as I mentioned above silverback is the supreme leader of the family/group but under normal circumstances, silverback gorillas are always peaceful and rarely uses force unless is needed to use force especially when it encounters a threat of intruders- other male gorillas from other families/groups or when he wants to assert its dominance as he makes the rules clear to everyone in the family because also some members choose to be stubborn and he must show them that he is the boss.
What types of food do silverback gorillas eat?
The main for Silverback gorillas is vegetables mainly plants and shrubs that include booboo shoots, fruits, and leaves from different trees in the jungle, not forgetting that gorillas also love eating ants and insects. One of the other questions many people as ask us is what the diet of silverback gorillas is mainly vegetables, fruits, stems, shrubs, booboo shoots, and leaves.
The best place where to see silverback gorillas in the world?
In this article we said that we are only talking about mountain gorillas, there are only three countries and four national parks which are Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DR-Congo, and both Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park both park found in Uganda. Therefore, whoever wants to see or meet silverback gorillas either has to visit Uganda, Rwanda, or DR-Congo. Contact a local tour operator like us Kisoro Tours Uganda, we will help to organize an affordable safari to East Africa to see silverback gorillas in the wild.
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