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Mountain gorilla

Latin name: Gorilla beringei beringei

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Mountain gorilla

“It is the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, for the most part unsung heroes, who deserve the credit for ensuring the survival of the mountain gorilla, and who offer the greatest hope for its continued survival over the coming centuries”

Eugène Rutagarama

Former Director, International Gorilla Conservation Programme

An image relating to Mountain gorilla

Around 880 mountain gorillas remain in the world today. Two isolated populations survive, one in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, south-western Uganda, and the other on the forested slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, straddling the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda.

Mountain gorilla facts:

  • Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins and tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas
  • In 1902, the German explorer Oscar von Beringe became the first non-African to encounter the mountain gorilla
  • The mountain gorilla is primarily terrestrial and quadrupedal but they are capable of running bipedally

During the 20th century a combination of hunting and habitat destruction drove this very rare primate to the verge of extinction.

The continued protection, monitoring and management of the mountain gorilla and its habitat have demanded huge commitment and cost many lives.

The dedication of national park staff in the three countries is the chief reason why mountain gorillas are thriving today.

Through the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is ensuring the survival of these magnificent creatures and their shrinking afro-montane forest habitat. Active conservation includes support for law enforcement and harmonised policy across the three countries where mountain gorillas are found, regular monitoring and census counts, and strong programmes to involve local communities in the protection of gorillas.

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Did you know?

Like all great apes other than humans, its arms are longer than its legs. It moves by knuckle-walking by supporting its weight on the backs of its curved fingers rather than its palms.

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