Mountain gorillas also known as (Gorilla beringei beringei) are one of the two subspecies of the Eastern gorilla races. They are two populations of which one is found in the Virunga in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the other in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, with the occupancy of three National Parks of : Volcanoes, in North-west Rwanda; Mgahinga, in South-West Uganda; and these gorillas are listed to be critically endangered by the IUCN department. There are other gorillas found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park too and some primatologists believe that the Bwindi population in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no report, explanation or description has been finalized about this. In September 2016, there was the estimation of the number of mountain gorillas remaining which showed the results of about 880. The mountain gorillas are some of many species distinctive to these forests. The forests are also home to many other wonderful species of birds, large mammals, reptiles, primates, insects, plants and also guarantee continued water and medical plant resources for the local communities.
The remnant documentation provides proof of the (apes) hominoid primates found in East Africa as regards 22 to 32 million years ago. The vestige record of the area where mountain gorillas exist is particularly poor and so its evolutionary history is not that open clear. It was estimated that about 9 million years ago that the grouping of primates that were to develop into gorillas split from their ordinary ancestor with humans and chimps; and this is when also the genus Gorilla emerged. It is not firm what this early relative of the gorilla was, but it is traced back to the early ape also known as Proconsul africanus. The Mountain gorillas have always been isolated from the Eastern lowland gorillas for around 400,000 years and these two taxon alienated from their western counterparts roughly 2 million years ago. There has been significant and as yet unresolved debate over the cataloging and classification of mountain gorillas. The genus was first referenced to Troglodytes around 1847, but later renamed to Gorilla within 1852. It was not until around 1967 when the taxonomist Colin Groves proposed that maybe all gorillas should be regarded as one species which is (Gorilla gorilla) with the three sub-species of Gorilla gorilla gorilla the (western lowland gorilla), Gorilla gorilla graueri the (lowland gorillas found in west of Virungas) and also Gorilla gorilla beringei the (mountain gorillas including, Gorilla beringei which is found in the Virungas and Bwindi). Around 2003 after the review they were then divided into two species (Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei) as due to The World Conservation Union of (IUCN) departments.
As of today practically half of the world’s estimated number 880 remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of the central Africa, at the crossroads of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcanic slopes here are abundant with tropical forests and sundry mammal, bird, and reptile species but they are also at the heart of a region in crisis.
The fleece or fur of these mountain gorillas, often are thicker and still longer than that of other gorilla species, which enables them to live in colder or cool temperatures. Gorillas can be recognized by nose prints which are unique to each particular individual. The Males, at a mean weight of 195 kg or (430 lb) upright standing with the height of 150 cm typically weigh twice as the females, at a mean of 100 kg and at a height of 130 cm. All the gorillas feature dark brown eyes framed by the black –like ring around the iris. The Adult males are called silverbacks because their saddle of gray or silver-colored fur that develops on their backs with age. This hair on their backs is commonly shorter than that hair on most of its other body parts, and their arm hair is specially long. However much they climb trees, Gorillas often live on ground in the groups or troops or communities of about 30 individuals and are normally led by one dominant older or adult male, which is frequently called a silverback due to its swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur.
Mountain gorillas are primarily terrestrial. However, they will climb into fruiting trees if the branches can carry their weight very well, and they are capable of running bipedally up to 6 m or (20 ft). Just like all great apes other than humans, their arms are typically longer than their legs. Gorillas move by knuckle-walking (like the common chimpanzee), supporting their weight on the backs of their curved fingers rather than their palms.
The mountain gorillas are diurnal meaning (day time activities), they are most active between the time of 6:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. much of these hours are spent on eating, as huge quantities of food are needed so as to sustain their massive bulkiness. They forage in the early mornings, and then rest during the late mornings up to around midday, then in the afternoon they forage again before they rest at night. Each one of the gorillas builds a nest from any surrounding vegetation to sleep in, construction of a new one every evening is normal to their way of life. Only the infants sleep in the same nests as their mothers. They tend to leave their sleeping sites when the sun rises at around 6 am in the morning, except when it is cold and cloudy; then here they often stay longer in their nests. The young ones especially those that are three to six years old tend to remind human observers of children. The most of their day is spent in play, climbing trees, chasing one another around and swinging from one branch to another.
Although physically powerful and strong, these mountain gorillas are normally gentle and also very shy animals. The severe aggression is unusual in stable groups, but incase two of the mountain gorilla groups get to meet, the leading two silverbacks can most times engage in a fight to death, using their canines so as to cause deep, wide open injuries. For this reason, conflicts are most often resolved by displays and there are other threatening behaviors that are intended to frighten without becoming physical. The ritualized charge display is distinctive to gorillas. And the entire sequence has nine steps which include;
(1) Gradually quickening hooting.
(2) Symbolic way of feeding.
(3) The rising bipedally way.
(4) Throwing plants and vegetation
(5) The chest-beating with cupped hands.
(6) One leg kick.
(7) Slanting running this is four-legged.
(8) Slap and tear vegetation, and
(9) Thumping the ground with palms.