After the discovery of mountain gorillas over two decades by Europeans, it prompted the government of Belgian government to create the Albertine National Park in 1925 which is now the virunga conservation park. The population of gorillas in this park was stable until 1960 when a census was undertaken by George Schaller indicated that about 450 individuals in the range and by 1971, the population of mountain gorillas had fallen to an estimate of 250. Eco-tourism has been encouraged as a way to conserve mountain gorillas however, despite the success of Eco-tourism there are still various threats to the ongoing survival of mountain gorillas in the wild. The Rwandan conflicts for instance had several repercussions in the virunga national park.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National park which is the best place for gorilla trekking tours, it’s population is however more immediately secure than the gorillas because Bwindi impenetrable park is not divided by arbitrary political borders, and this means that the entire population can be protected within one well managed and carefully monitored national park. The habituation of mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable park has increased their vulnerability to poachers within the area. The benefits derived from gorilla tourism do extend much further for the activity and now forms the foundation of Uganda’s national tourist industry where the majority of the people who come to the pearl of Africa to see the mountain gorillas do spend money in other parts of the country there by generating foreign revenue and creating employment well beyond the immediate vicinities of the mountain gorilla reserves and this result is a symbolic situation whereby a far greater number of people, nationally and internationally are very much motivated to take an active interest in the protection of the gorillas than would otherwise be the case.
The Ecology and Taxonomy
Mountain gorillas are one of the largest primates which are widespread residents of the equatorial African rain-forest with a global population of per harps 100,000 concentrated mainly in the Congo basin. The conventional taxonomic classification of the mountain gorillas has been very much challenged by the recent advances in the DNA testing and the fresh morphological studies suggests that the western and the eastern gorilla population range lie more than 1,000 kilometers a part. It should be noted however that the first study of the mountain gorillas was undertaken in the 1950s by George Schaller, whose pioneering work greatly formed the starting point for the more recent researches by Dian Fossey in the 1960s though the brutal and unsolved murder of Fossey at her research center in the of 1985 has been generally thought as one of the great work.
Discrepancy of the mountain gorillas
Mountain gorillas are distinguished from lowland counterparts by several adaptations concerning its altitude home. A female mountain gorilla reaches sexual maturity at the age of eight (8) and after which she will then often move between different troops several times and once a female has successfully given birth to young ones, she will normally stay loyal to that male which is the silver-back until he dies. The females do have a gestation period which is similar to humans and when she reaches the old age, she will have raised up to six off springs to sexual maturity.
Feeding of the endangered mountain gorillas
These great apes are primarily vegetarian and their main diet is composed of bamboo shoots being the favored diet. They are also known to eat about 58 different species of plants and several insects with ants being their popular protein supplement. Being sedentary creatures, they typically move less than 1 kilometer in a day which tracking them on a day to day basis relatively easy more so if you are an experienced guide.