Mountain gorilla Introduction
These big lumbering giants reside deep within the cloud forests of central Africa. Mountain gorillas exhibit a keen intelligence and rich emotional and social life. As one of humanity’s closest living relatives, they offer a fascinating glimpse into our own evolution and development. Despite their peaceful existence, however, Mountain gorillas are now under threat from human encroachment and climate change. There are about a thousand Mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, and about half live in the forests of the Virunga mountains in central Africa. Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorilla. As their name hints, they live in the mountains at elevations between 8,000 and 13,000 feet. Mountiain gorillas live on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—areas that have seen much human violence from which the gorillas have not escaped unscathed. Habitat loss is a major threat: agriculture, illegal mining, and forest destruction for charcoal production have degraded their forests. They often get caught in snares laid out to trap other animals for bushmeat. Climate change also poses a threat: While gorillas are adaptive, moving to higher elevations to adapt to warmer temperatures, those areas are densely populated with little forest remaining. Catching illnesses from humans is also a threat. The majority of Mountain gorillas are habituated to human presence because of the tourism industry, and while there are strict sanitation protocols in place and touching the gorillas is prohibited, disease could spread quickly.
Keywords to learn
Repellent: A substance that deters insects or other pests from approaching or settling
Hey Kids, my name is Miles the Mountain gorilla and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @
- Lifespan:35 years.
- Scientific Name:Gorilla beringei beringei.
- Mass:300 to 485 pounds.
- Length:Standing height: 4 to 6 feet.
- Region found:Africa.
- Population Status:Endangered.
- Current population trend:Increasing.
- Sexual maturity:2-3 years.
You have just learned about the Mountain gorilla, a large silverback mammal that can be aggressive and dangerous, so be very aware if you ever come across these guys, be very careful.
Now that you know more about the Mountain gorilla by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the Mountain gorilla here: Mountain Gorilla (answers are on this page)
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Mountain gorilla Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which sets the conservation status of species, changed their status from “critically endangered” to “endangered” in 2008 as their numbers improved. Scientists, however, warn that they could quickly slip back into being critically endangered.
- # 2. To stay warm in the mountains, mountain gorillas have longer hair than their eastern lowland cousins, the Grauer’s gorillas. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas and have shorter arms.
- # 3. Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures.
- # 4. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring.
- # 5. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny—weighing four pounds—and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur.
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