Not many Mountain Gorillas remain. They live in east-central Africa in just two isolated groups. They are found in high altitude mountains and bamboo forests, which are surrounded by agriculture and settlements.
Here are 5 facts you might not know about our fellow primates.
1. Mountain Gorillas are very powerful
A male weight an average of 180Kg, up to 200Kg and measure 170cm tall. They can be more than 10 times stronger than an average human.
Despite their impressive strength, they are unfortunately critically endangered, mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitat.
2. Mountain Gorillas are particularly clever
Like humans, they can use tools like sticks as ‘weapons’ when threatened or to forage for insects, a branch to test the depth of a pond or even make a bamboo ladder to help their young to climb up a tree.
3. Mountain Gorillas and human’s DNA are very similar.
We share around 98% of our DNA with Gorillas. Even if it’s less than Chimpanzees and Bonobos, they are nonetheless close relatives.
One of the consequences of this genetic similarity is that they are vulnerable to human illnesses without having developed the necessary immunities.
4. Mountain Gorillas noseprints are unique.
Like human fingerprints, Mountain Gorillas have unique noseprints and scientists can identify individual gorillas with the shape of their nose.
5. Mountain Gorillas can live up to 40 years old.
They reach adulthood from around 8 years. First, males between 8-12 years are called 'blackbacks' then, from 12 years old, they develop a silver section of hair over their back and hips, earning them the name 'silverback'.