Mountain Gorillas Safaris – Facts and Family Life

Should you be considering a Mountain Gorilla safari, here are a few facts to make your trip more enjoyable.

A typical gorilla group consists of about 10 members - the dominant silverback, several adult females, and then the immature offspring of various ages. However, there can be great variation and group size may range from 2 to 30 or more.

Groups may contain more than 2 silverbacks; in multi-male groups the silverbacks are usually related as brothers, half brothers, or father and son. When gorillas reach maturity, they typically (but not always) leave the group in which they were born. Females will transfer directly to another group when they are 6 – 10 years old. Males follow one of two strategies to become the leader of the group: either remain in the group and attempt a takeover or emigrate to become a solitary male and eventually form a new group.

All male gorillas become silverbacks at approximately 14 years of age and can weigh up to 250 kgs, but not all males become group leaders. Females have their first offspring at about age 10. Gestation is 8.5 months, and about 1 in 3 babies born do not survive past age three. Gorillas may live into their early 40s. Females have babies only every 4 – 5 years, and each female may only have 4 offspring that survive to adulthood. Silverbacks may be dominant for 10 or more years and sire 5, 10 or more offspring.

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