Lifespan of Mountain Gorillas

HomeAbout GorillasLifespan of Mountain Gorillas

The lifespan of gorillas differs and for mountain gorillas it is not easy to ascertain the fact that it ranges from 30 to 35 years in average. However, gorillas are divided into 2 types-the lowland and the mountain gorillas. The lowland gorillas are the ones that can even be found at the zoo whereas the mountain gorillas on the other hand can only be trekked/seen while in their natural habitat. These magnificent creatures share about 98 percent of their DNA with humans making them our closest relatives on earth after chimpanzees. Mountain gorillas are huge wild creatures, very intelligent, humble, very strong compared to even humans and so amazing to catch a glimpse while you are on gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo.

The lowland gorillas on the other hand live mainly within the jungles of Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon and Congo. If you are interested in viewing mountain gorillas then the best option is for you to go on a gorilla safari to Uganda or Rwanda. There are only four national parks where these great apes can be seen; Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park, Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda specifically features about 17 habituated families with only 1 set for visitor experiences in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

What differentiates the 2 primates is mainly their habitat, color and the length of their hair. However, they can thrive up to 35 to 40 years. Unfortunately, the mountain gorillas normally get affected by arthritis that causes damage to their bones, feet and hands. Gorillas can even thrive up to 50 years while in the zoo unlike mountain gorillas. At elderly age, they can suffer from teeth loss that brings problems when they are feeding. Besides, they spend more time feeding compared to other members of the group which leads to their reduced lifespan and this usually causes early death.

Looking at their life cycle, we consider things like birth, reproduction, growth and other significant traits. Mountain gorillas also scientifically known as gorilla beringei beringei, do grow based on a life cycle but unfortunately, their form does not change dramatically.

The female mountain gorillas give birth to 1 baby gorilla and after a gestation period of about 9 months like it is a case with humans. Regardless of their huge size, a newly born gorilla weighs about 4 pounds. The new born depends on the mother and she carries her baby for about 4 months. They start clinging on their mothers’ back up to the time they stop nursing at 2 to 3 years. When they reach 3 years, they can stay independently although at this stage still they aren’t mature. Their juvenile stage lasts when they reach 6 years or more. The female gorilla becomes sexually mature at 10 years while males from 15 to 20 years and this is usually termed as mature adult stage. Between juvenile and mature adult stage, they described as adults.

Mating on the other hand, after a male mountain gorilla has become sexually mature, he can find a mate to have a baby. They live in families of 30 members and headed by a dominant silverback gorilla. A mature male gorilla is called a silverback due to the gray hair that grows on its back. A gorilla group is composed of females, infants, the juveniles, adult males a mention but a few. A silverback gorilla is in charge protection of other group members, mating and decides where other group members can go to feed.

Conclusively, the lifespan of mountain gorillas varies as there are many other factors that claim their lives including among other poaching, human infectious diseases, habitat loss and others.

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