Quick Facts about Mountain Gorillas
Name: Gorilla beringei beringei
Number Remaining: Fewer than 800
Where they live: Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Status: Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List C1 version 3.1)
Population: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park, Uganda; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda; Virunga National Park, DRC
Main Threats: Habitat loss, poaching, civil unrest, disease
Characteristics of Mountain Gorillas:
Mountain gorillas live in the misty mountain forests of hte Virunga Massif and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in central Africa. They have longer, thicker fur than other gorilla subspecies, enabling them to live in colder temperatures. Adult males can weigh up to 200kg (31st 9lb), and are roughly twice the size of adult females. When they reach maturity (at around 12 or 13 years old), males develop the characteristic silver fur on their back that gives them the name ‘silverback’.
Like all gorillas, mountain gorillas are very sociable and live in family groups led by the dominant silverback. They are largely herbivorous and eat a variety of shoots, fruit and leaves.
Today, mountain gorillas are threatened, not due to a demand for their meat, or their infants, but due to a demand for the lush forest in which they live. For the poverty-stricken communities living around the gorilla habitat it is the forest that provides them with many of their basic human needs, and in the war torn areas of DR Congo these needs are exaggerated.