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Mountain Gorillas in Uganda population

Mountain Gorillas in Uganda population

Mountain Gorillas in Uganda population is the number of critically endangered subspecies of the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei).

Uganda is one of the few countries in the world where you can find mountain gorillas in the wild. These majestic creatures inhabit the dense forests of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, both located in southwestern Uganda.

Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Here are some key facts about mountain gorillas in Uganda:

Conservation Status:

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, with a small and fragile population. Conservation efforts are critical to their survival.

Population of mountain gorillas:

It was estimated that there were around 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, with about half of them residing in Uganda. However, please note that population figures may have changed since then.

Gorilla Habituation:

Gorilla habituation is the process of getting wild gorillas used to the presence of humans, which is essential for gorilla tourism.

In Uganda, you can participate in gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experiences.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous places to see mountain gorillas in Uganda. It’s home to several habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:

This park, located in southwestern Uganda near the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is another key location for mountain gorilla trekking and conservation efforts.

Conservation Organizations:

Various organizations and government agencies work together to protect mountain gorillas in Uganda, including the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and international conservation organizations like the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Gorilla Trekking:

Gorilla trekking is a popular activity for tourists visiting Uganda. It involves hiking through the dense forests to observe mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Permits are required, and it’s essential to follow strict guidelines to minimize the impact on the gorillas.

Conservation Challenges:

Mountain gorillas face numerous threats, including habitat loss, poaching, and disease transmission from humans. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their natural habitat, monitoring and habituating gorilla groups, and enforcing strict regulations for gorilla tourism.

If you plan to visit Uganda to see mountain gorillas, I recommend checking with the Uganda Wildlife Authority or other relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information on permits, regulations, and the status of mountain gorillas in Uganda.

In Uganda, you can find mountain gorillas in two main locations: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

These parks are the primary habitats for mountain gorillas and offer opportunities for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experiences. Here’s more information about these two places:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:


Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most renowned places to see mountain gorillas in Africa.

Gorilla Groups:

Bwindi is home to several habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists. Each group has a unique composition and dynamics.

Gorilla Trekking:

Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity in Bwindi. Visitors can hike through the dense forest to observe mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It’s essential to obtain a gorilla trekking permit in advance.

Habituation Experience:

Some parts of Bwindi also offer gorilla habituation experiences, allowing visitors to spend more extended periods with gorilla groups that are in the process of becoming accustomed to human presence.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:


Located in the southwestern corner of Uganda, near the borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gorilla Group:

While Mgahinga is smaller in size compared to Bwindi, it is home to one habituated gorilla group known as the Nyakagezi group.

Gorilla Trekking:

Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga provides a unique opportunity to see mountain gorillas in a different setting, as the park offers a stunning backdrop of the Virunga Mountains.

Habituation Experience:

Similar to Bwindi, Mgahinga offers gorilla habituation experiences, allowing visitors to spend more time with the Nyakagezi group.

When planning to visit either of these parks to see mountain gorillas, it’s essential to consider the following:

  1. Gorilla Trekking Permits: You must obtain permits in advance for gorilla trekking or habituation experiences. These permits have limited availability and should be booked well in advance through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or authorized tour operators.
  2. Health and Fitness: Gorilla trekking can be physically demanding, involving hikes through rugged terrain and dense forest. Ensure that you are in good health and physically fit to participate.
  3. Respect for Gorillas: It’s crucial to follow strict guidelines during gorilla encounters to minimize any potential impact on the gorillas’ health and behaviour. These guidelines are in place to protect both the gorillas and visitors.
  4. Weather and Packing: The weather in these parks can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to pack appropriately, including rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, and warm clothing.
  5. Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines provided by the Uganda Wildlife Authority or your tour operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it contributes to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.

Be sure to plan your visit well in advance and consider using the services of reputable tour operators to help organize your gorilla trekking adventure.

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) exhibit a wide range of behaviours, which are essential for their survival and social interactions within their groups. 

Here are some key behaviours of mountain gorillas:

Feeding Behaviour:

Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivorous, and their diet consists of leaves, stems, shoots, fruit, and other plant materials.

They spend a significant portion of their day feeding, often starting early in the morning and continuing until they rest in the late afternoon.

Social Structure:

Mountain gorillas live in stable, cohesive groups known as troops or families, typically led by a dominant adult male known as a silverback.

Troops can vary in size but generally consist of multiple adult females, young gorillas, and sometimes subadult males.

Silverback Leadership:

The silverback, typically the largest and oldest male in the group, plays a crucial role in leading and protecting the troop.

He makes decisions regarding the group’s movements, feeding sites, and interactions with other gorilla groups.


Gorillas use a variety of vocalizations and nonverbal communication to convey information and maintain social bonds.

Vocalizations include grunts, hoots, roars, and barks. They use these calls to alert group members to danger or express different emotional states.

Nonverbal communication includes body postures, gestures, and grooming, which help reinforce social bonds within the group.

Resting and Nest Building:

After feeding, mountain gorillas often rest or sleep. They build nests on the ground or in trees to sleep in at night.

Nests are typically constructed by bending and weaving vegetation into a circular shape to create a comfortable sleeping platform.

Play and Social Interactions:

Young gorillas, both male and female, engage in play to develop physical and social skills. Play includes wrestling, climbing, and mock charging.

Social grooming is an essential part of gorilla behaviour, helping to maintain group cohesion and reinforce social bonds.

Territorial Behaviour:

Mountain gorilla groups have overlapping home ranges, and the silverback defends the core area, which includes the primary feeding and resting sites.

Interactions between different gorilla groups can be aggressive, involving displays, vocalizations, and, in some cases, physical conflicts.

Maternal Care:

Female gorillas are responsible for the care of their offspring. They carry, nurse, and protect their infants until they are more independent.

Infants stay close to their mothers and are weaned at around three to four years of age.

Foraging Skills:

Mountain gorillas are known for their specialized foraging techniques, such as stripping leaves from branches using their lips and hands.

They have developed adaptations to efficiently process fibrous plant material in their diet.

Solitary Males (Blackbacks):

Subadult males, known as blackbacks, often leave their natal group to avoid conflicts with the dominant silverback. They may live solitarily or form bachelor groups until they are mature enough to lead their own groups.

Understanding these behaviours is essential for researchers and conservationists working with mountain gorillas, as it helps protect and conserve this critically endangered species and their habitats.

Visitors engaging in gorilla trekking experiences are also encouraged to observe gorillas from a respectful distance and follow guidelines to minimize disturbances to their natural behaviour.


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