Researchers have done a number of attempts to captivate Mountain Gorillas for their study purposes but still there are no Mountain Gorillas that can be found in captivity. During the 1960’s and 1970’s numerous attempts were made to captivate these gorillas. Many adult mountain gorillas were killed to obtain their babies for study but none of them survived.
Following the many attempts of keeping mountain gorillas in captivity, the last celebrated Mountain Gorilla that survived in captivity was known as Kaboko (the world’s only captive mountain gorilla). This gorilla survived in Senkwekwe Center, a mountain gorilla sanctuary at the Virunga National park headquarters in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga National Park is the most popular Congo gorilla trekking safari and the only Congo gorilla safari destination where you can find mountain gorillas. This mountain gorilla passed on at approximately 5:30 a.m. on 25th July 2012 after fighting raged between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels less than a mile from the center. Kaboko has been under our care since 2007, when he was rescued from poachers and required surgery to amputate his right hand, which had been very severely injured by a snare.
A brief about Kaboko mountain gorilla
The Nine-year-old Kaboko lived at the Senkwekwe Center with 11-year-old adult female Maisha (passed shortly after Kaboko) and five-year-old juvenile females Ndakasi and Ndeze. All four were born to wild mountain gorilla parents in Virunga National Park, but were orphaned by events involving humans conducting illegal activities in the park. In addition to losing his hand, Kaboko suffered from mental trauma as a result of his ordeal and was depressed and solitary for more than a year after his confiscation.
Up to date, there no Mountain Gorillas in captivity and here is why; The reason why Mountain Gorillas failed to survive in captivity is unclear but most probably the main reason is because of the gorilla diet.
The dietary needs of a mountain gorilla are too specific based almost exclusively on foliage. Mountain Gorillas are primarily herbivores; the majority of their diet is composed of the leaves, shoots and stems (85.8%) of 142 plant species. It also feeds on bark (6.9%), roots (3.3%), flowers (2.3%), and fruit (1.7%), as well as small invertebrates. (0.1%).
Adult males can eat up to 34 kilograms (75 lb.) of vegetation a day, while a female can eat as much as 18 kilograms (40 lb.). This rate of consumption and variety in feeds makes it difficult for the gorillas to survive in captivity.
Their natural habitat offers a variety of desired feed taken at their own will. Many gorillas in captivity die of heart disease resulting from obesity. This is so because they feed a lot and do less exercise. This could actually be reason for failure of mountain gorillas to survive in captivity.
The other reason could be stress therefore succumbing to disease more rapidly. For instance, Kaboko the male gorilla that survived in Congo died after the outbreak of fights in the country just less than a mile from its residence.
However, the population of mountain gorillas is just starting to recover and therefore trying to take them to captivity could seriously harm the population. It could be better to conserve the mountain gorillas within their natural habitat and we continue living without any of them in the zoos since we can still see them in the wild.
Where can I find Mountain Gorillas?
Since its very hard to find a mountain gorilla in captivity, the only way of seeing them is by undertaking a Congo, Uganda, Rwanda gorilla trekking safari. Mountain Gorillas are only existent in the three countries mentioned countries and in only Four National Parks in the whole world. These include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are open for travelers interested in Uganda gorilla trekking safaris. If you opt for a an Africa safari in Rwanda, mountain gorillas can only be found in Volcanoes National Park and can only be seen of you take on Rwanda gorilla safari. If your traveling to Congo, you can only see these during your Congo gorilla safari in Virunga National Park Congo. To see the elusive gentle giants therefore one has to plan a Uganda gorilla trekking safari, Gorilla trekking safari Rwanda or Congo gorilla trekking safari. Each country has rules guiding the activity with a minimum age being 15 years of age. Mountain gorilla trekking involves hiking because they live in mountainous areas unlike the lowland gorillas of Kahuzi Biega National Park that live in lowland areas.
Is it safe to trek Mountain Gorillas?
Gorillas are not aggressive or readily set to cause harm to people. Mountain gorillas and other gorillas in general are very shy and reserved towards people however, if threatened or when a person behaves the wrong way they will attack. By behaving the wrong way, it means you didn’t follow the rules and therefore made noise, looked direct into its eyes, beat your chest or did expose them to flash photography, this will get them cautious. Before gorilla families are opened up for gorilla trekking they go through habituation therefore are carefully exposed to humans in the wild. They will still have caution near humans, but they have learned that humans are not a threat, and they act accordingly. Gorilla trekking is becoming a popular safari activity entailed in many itineraries to Africa because of the aliveness from the safari. Plan a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda gorilla tour or gorilla trekking safari in Congo and have one of a kind safari. Humans and gorillas have a lot of likeness since we share about 90% of DNA with the species.
Tailor the activity to either your Rwanda wildlife safari, a Uganda safari,a short Uganda safari, wildlife safari in Uganda, short Uganda tour, short Uganda gorilla safari or Congo wildlife safari and have more of sightings but a lifetime experience. if a tourist needs a lifetime sight of millions of wildlife, a safari to Kenya, tour Kenya , short Kenya wildlife safari, long Kenya wildlife safari or Tanzania tour is one of the wise options to undertake. The wildebeest can be sighted in one of the safaris to these countries.
Gorillas packages include;