Friday, January 20, 2012

Save the Mountain Gorillas - Part I

A Baby Mountain Gorilla
A Baby Mountain Gorilla
Mountain Gorillas have captivated humans all over the world. Gorillas share more than 95% of our DNA and are one of our closest relatives.

Today, only 786 Mountain Gorillas survive in the wild.

My aim in this series of blog posts is to make people aware of the dire situation of this critically endangered species.

  • The scientific name of Mountain Gorilla is Gorilla beringei beringei, in honor of Captain von Beringe, who discovered the species in 1902.

Physical Characteristics
  •  Mountain Gorillas have the thickest fur among all the gorillas, as part of their adaptation to the severe cold climates high up in the altitudes.
  •  Gorillas are identified by their nose prints, similar to how each human being has a unique fingerprint.
  • Adult Male Gorillas are called Silverbacks, as silver-colored hair develops on their back as they age.
  • Silverbacks can weigh around 400 pounds and are twice the size of females.
A Silverback Mountain Gorilla
A Silverback Gorilla
Family and Social Lives
  • Gorillas live in big groups, led by the dominant Silverback.
  • Silverbacks are very protective of their family and will make the ultimate sacrifice (if needed) to defend their group. They are supported by other silverbacks and blackbacks (sexually immature male gorillas) in defending the group.
  • Gorillas are shy, gentle and highly intelligent. They live emotionally rich lives and form complex social bonds. Scientists have also discovered that Gorillas laugh when tickled.
  • Male Gorillas usually leave their natal group on reaching sexual maturity, to form their own groups. They do this by acquiring females from their other groups.
  • Female Gorillas leave their natal group once they reach sexual maturity to avoid inbreeding.
  • The gestation period for a female gorilla is approximately 9 months, very similar to humans.
  • Mother Gorillas take care of their newborns for up to 5 years.
  • Baby Gorillas are extremely playful and curious, similar to human babies.
  • Silverbacks form very close bonds with the young members of their group and spend lot of time with them.
  • Grooming is an important part in the lives of Gorillas and helps form close relationships.
  • Gorillas sleep in nests built on trees.
Gorillas are social animals living in families
Gorillas are social animals

  • Led by the dominant Silverback, Gorillas spend a considerable time foraging for food.
  • Gorillas mainly feed on plant leaves, shoots and stems.
  • They get most of their water from their food itself.
Please click here to read the next blog post, where I discuss the challenges and the threats they face today.

Mountain Gorillas need our active support. For more on how YOU can help save Mountain Gorillas, please visit the following sites:

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  1. What a great idea for a blog series!
    Thanks for linking up with inspired tuesday!