Mountain Gorilla Behaviour in Volcanoes Park Rwanda
Mountain Gorillas are social animals and they thrive in averagely stable and cooperative groups / families which are kept together by the long-term bonds between the mature females and males. The Mountain Gorillas are non territorial and the Silverback minds about defending the group other than the territory. About 61% of the Gorilla groups feature one (1) mature male and a range of females while the remaining section feature more than one. Other Gorillas live as individual males or as secluded male groups with one mature male and then a few young males. The Mountain Gorilla group range from 5 – 30 individuals and a normal group features one main Silverback, other subordinate Silverback which can be the younger brother or an adult son, one (1) or two (2) black backs, 3 – 4 females which are sexually mature, 3 – 6 juveniles and the infants. Males and around 60% of the females tend to depart from their natal groups. Males can leave the group at around the age of eleven (11) years and the separation process takes long as they start with feeding on the edge of the group up to the time when they leave altogether. They can depart alone or many males after which they attract some females to go with them. The females tend to leave the group at the age of eight (8) years where they either join an established gorilla family or start a new one with a lone male.
The movements of the Gorilla family are majorly determined by the Silverback which leads the group to various feeding sites all the year round. The Silverback also mediates conflicts within the group and ensures their protection from the external threats even at the cost of his own life. During the resting sessions, the Silverback is the centre of attention with the young gorillas playing around him and often including him in their games. The Silverback undertakes the care of baby gorilla in case of the mother’s death or departure from the group. The experienced Silverbacks can at times remove the snares from the hands or feet of the group members. In a situation where the Silverback losses his life, the gorilla group may face disruption unless there is a capable male that can ably take on his position.