. This might make it obvious that they live in the mountains, but there is much more than what meets the eye in this case. Here is some research on the specific places where mountain gorillas live and why.
Uganda has the highest number and is spread across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Bwindi is home to half of the world’s mountain gorilla population.
Gorilla trekking is also practiced here, especially since the local police began using better security methods, making the place safer for tourism.
Uganda is famous for land most of Africa’s unquestionable beauty, and it is believed that if not for the conservation methods used around Bwindi national park to save mountain gorillas from extinction, mountain gorillas would have died out by the end of the twentieth century.
In Rwanda, gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park.
They are habituated for tourists can also access these rare animals safely.
This wildlife experience called gorilla trekking is undoubtedly an important source of income for Rwanda and plays a significant role in bringing about awareness of the fact that these apes are highly endangered and need to be protected.
Through this activity, people all around the world can participate in the conservation of this species.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the only three countries in the world where mountain gorillas can be found.
These apes are kept in the Virunga National Park, which is situated in the Albertine Rift Valley.
Surrounded by cloud forests and volcanic slopes with rich vegetation, this valley is the natural habitat of mountain gorillas, making it an excellent spot to build a conservation center for these primates.
Mountain gorillas are native to the cloud forests of the Virunga Mountains.
They are adapted to places in high altitudes because they have thicker fur compared to other primates, and have more of it. This helps them survive in subzero temperatures.
Also, these volcanic slopes are rich in many types of vegetation, which perfectly meet the food requirements of mountain gorillas (roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp).
The Virunga Mountain Range falls into parts of DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda. These gorillas cannot survive in captivity, so it is only safe for them to be kept in their natural habitat. This explains why all the conservation centers for mountain gorillas were built in these three countries only.
One of the biggest threats to the habitat of mountain gorillas is deforestation. When trees are cleared to make room for urbanization, settlements, and infrastructure projects, mountain gorillas have no place left to go and they enter lowland regions that are not meant for them.
Some die of hunger when they don’t find anything to eat, while some enter human settlements and are killed by the people living there. Some become victims of poachers when they fall prey to traps intended for other animals like antelopes.
Mountain Gorilla Habitat – Mountain Gorilla Habitat
Mountain gorillas are not found in the wild anymore. They are so greatly endangered that their total population was estimated to be made up of 1,004 individuals in 2018. That is why they are now confined to national parks where efforts are made to protect them from extinction.
One group of mountain gorillas lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda while the other group is found spread over three national parks in the Virunga mountain region of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain gorillas do not need to go far from the conservation centers where they are made to live and they can only be found in the national parks mentioned above. That is because they are naturally adapted to live in the volcanic slopes of the Virunga mountain region; it serves all their food requirements and they have thick fur to sustain the cold climate of this area.
In 1978, the Virunga National Park was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its remarkable biodiversity. However, due to war in DRC for over 14 years, the government of this country could not pay attention to the park. A rise in poaching of mountain gorillas landed the park on the List of Heritage in Danger in 1994, and its status has remained unchanged ever since.
The locals depend greatly on wildlife-based tourism for their welfare, but political instability caused a sharp decline in tourism, so gorilla trekking cannot be done.
Moreover, rebel groups throughout the area put pressure on park rangers, who risk their lives to protect the animals living in the park. The discovery of oil in the area has also threatened the future of mountain gorillas because that oil is located under a vast piece of land which mountain gorillas live on.
Congo gorilla trekking safaris apparently is unsafe, so Uganda and Rwanda are both prime locations for gorilla trekking. Once the trekking trip begins, the tourists are put into groups, each with a tour guide, and they hike uphill towards the place where the mountain gorillas are found. There, the tourists are allowed to spend only an hour with the gorillas, as these apes are habituated to being around humans for very short periods of time.
Gorilla trekking is much easier in Rwanda, due to thinner vegetation and size of the park as compared to Uganda, where the dense vegetation makes the hike tougher. to those who have a limited time of travel. You can arrive in Rwanda capital and get transfer to the park trek gorillas and later proceed back home. There is no difference in the climate, as both Rwanda and Uganda are located at the Equator and do not experience any distinct seasons, so trekking can be done all year round.
The main difference between a Safari in Rwanda and a Safari in Uganda is that if you choose Uganda, you can pre-book the family you are to meet before you actually begin the tour. And you can opt to start the safari in Rwanda, you choose the family in the morning before the hike. Also, the permits in Rwanda go at $1500 which are much more double expensive than one in Uganda at $600 American dollars.