As their name implies, mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet. They have thicker fur, and more of it, compared to other great apes. The fur helps them to survive in a habitat where temperatures often drop below freezing. But as humans have moved more and more into the gorillas’ territory, the gorillas have been pushed farther up into the mountains for longer periods, forcing them to endure dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.
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Gorillas that come into contact with humans can be vulnerable to human diseases, which gorillas experience in more severe forms. Mountain gorillas can even die from the common cold. However, studies have found that mountain gorillas that are regularly habituated with researchers and tourists have survived better than unvisited gorillas; they benefit from the greater protection available in those areas and from regular monitoring.
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The war in Rwanda in the early 1990s and years of civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sent waves of refugees into the region around the Virunga Mountains parks that are home to more than half the mountain gorilla population, leading to poaching and destruction of gorilla habitat. And parts of the park inhabited by gorillas have been taken over by rebels, making survey and conservation work difficult and dangerous. Since 1996, 140 Virunga rangers have been killed
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Inside gorilla habitat in Virunga National Park, people harvest charcoal for use as a fuel source in cooking and heating. This charcoal production—an illegal, multi-million dollar industry—has destroyed gorilla habitat. There is little to no direct targeting of mountain gorillas for bushmeat or pet trade, but they can be caught and harmed by snares set for other animals.
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Virunga National Park, established in 1925, is Africa’s first national park and home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. When refugees and displaced people encroached upon park land to flee a war zone, WWF and the United Nations purchased emergency fuel wood supplies so that the people were less likely to look to the park as a fuel source. And as the park recovers from civil unrest, agencies hasve worked to reforest areas and fund antipoaching patrols.
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Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas. 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. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback . Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring.
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About 900 gorillas still live in the wild,about half live in the Virunga Mountains,a range of extinct volcanoes that border the Democratic Republic of Congo,Rwanda and Uganda.The remainder are found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.gorillas are critically endangered. They stand to 165cm or 5and half feet on two feet and weigh up to 200 kg or 440lbs.They live in forests at elevations of 8000 to 13000 feet.Conservation efforts in recent years has seen numbers slowly increase.
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The mountain gorilla is diurnal, most active between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.Many of these hours are spent eating, as large quantities of food are needed to sustain its massive bulk. It forages in early morning, rests during the late morning and around midday, and in the afternoon it forages again before resting at night. Each gorilla builds a nest from surrounding vegetation to sleep in, constructing a new one every evening. Only infants sleep in the same nest as their mothers.
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Although strong and powerful, the mountain gorillas are generally gentle and very shy.Severe aggression is rare in stable groups, but when two mountain gorilla groups meet, the two silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, using their canines to cause deep, gaping injuries
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The gorilla's only known enemies are leopards and humans. . In western Africa, gorillas are commonly hunted for meat or in retaliation for crop raiding, but in eastern Africa they have been the victims of snares and traps set for antelope and other animals. Poachers have also destroyed entire family groups in their attempts to capture infant gorillas for zoos, while others are killed to sell their heads and hands as trophies.
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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a national park in the far south-west of Uganda near the town of Kisoro. At 33.7 square kilometres, it is Ugandas smallest park The park was gazetted as a haven for the endangered mountain gorilla in 1991 Home to the rare mountain gorilla, the Virungas volcanoes span Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo Also home to the Batwa – a tribe of pygmies among the first people in Uganda and still living according to the tenets of their ancient cultu
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