Mountain Gorillas

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Mountain Gorillas

•They are peaceful, gentle, social, and mainly vegetarian creatures.•A mountain gorilla group is led by the biggest and strongest older male gorilla called a silverback because the hair on a male's back turns from black to silvery gray as he matures. This happens when he is between 11 and 13 years old. •A silverback's group normally includes a young male or two and a few females and their young.•Mountain gorillas wander around a home range of up to 39 square kilometers. •Mountain gorillas spend much of their time eating. Their food includes a variety of plants, along with a few insects and worms.• At night the animals make a nest to sleep in. Many lightweight gorillas nest in trees, making beds of bent branches. The heavier individuals may nest in grasses on the ground. Babies snuggle with their mothers for the night.•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.

Life for mountain gorillas isn't all peaceful. They are endangered, threatened by civil war in a small area of Africa where they live. Hunters kill them for food or trophies. Their forests are chopped down for farmland, fuel, and housing. •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.

What are Mountain Gorillas?

1. WAR•The war in Rwanda in the early 1990s and years of civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sent refugees into the region around the Virunga Mountains parks that are home to more than half the mountain gorilla population.•This lead to poaching and destruction of gorilla habitat. •Since 1996, 140 Virunga rangers have been killed in the line of duty.

2. HABITAT LOSS•As humans have moved into areas near mountain gorillas, they have cleared land for houses, agriculture and livestock. •Even land within protected areas is not safe from clearing—in 2004, for example, illegal settlers cleared 3,700 acres of gorilla forest in Virunga National Park.

3. DISEASE•Gorillas that come into contact with humans can catch human diseases, which gorillas experience much worse. Mountain gorillas can even die from the common cold

4. CHARCOAL MAKING•Inside gorilla habitat in Virunga National Park, people harvest charcoal for use as a fuel source in cooking and heating. This charcoal productio has destroyed gorilla habitat.

What information is there on their endangered status? •The mountain gorillas status is critically endangered•The population of mountain gorillas is 880

Where do Mountain Gorillas live? • Mountain Gorillas live lush mountain forest high in the Virunga mountains of Africa a range of extinct volcanoes that border the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda; and the other group can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet.

What can we do to stop the destruction of Mountain Gorillas?

1.Go on a trek to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, DR Congo, or Uganda. The cost of the permits is very expensive and all the money goes to protecting the gorillas.2. Do not trek to see gorillas if you are sick.3.Stay at least 7 meters away from the gorillas.4. Donate to conservation organizations working to protect mountain gorillas. One group is called Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and they are dedicated to saving the mountain gorilla species one patient at a time. They are the only group providing wild mountain and Grauer's gorillas with direct, hands-on medical care.5. Spread the word about mountain gorilla conservation just like I am by doing this project.

What are they doing in Uganda to stop the destruction of Mountain Gorillas?

•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 went to the park land to get away from the war zone, World Wildlife Federation and the United Nations bought emergency fuel and wood so that the people wouldn’t use the park as a fuel source. •As the park recovers from the war, WWF has worked to reforest areas

What have humans done to make Mountain Gorillas endangered?

Mountain Gorillas

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