As one of our closest living relatives, it is understandable that an encounter with the Gorillas brings about a deeper more emotional bond than with any other animal. Their behavioural similarities are intriguing, they cuddle their young, they sleep together in nests, they are vocal, expressive and they have unique fingerprints (they also have unique identifiable nose prints). In captivity they have even been known to learn 2000 words in sign language.
With only four Gorilla species in Africa, it is the Mountain Gorilla that is highest on the endangered list. Albeit that their habitat spans over three countries, the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda the actual territory is smaller than Yellowstone Park.
These gentle giants live, peaceful lives high up in the mountains in small family groups with a protective dominant Silverback at the helm. They spend most of their time eating a predominantly vegetarian diet of bamboo shoots and leaves but are known to snack on the odd insect. Their rich tannin diet is also known to stain their tongues and teeth, black! Strangely enough, this shoot eating primate has the 7th strongest bite force in the animal kingdom, at a whopping 1300 pounds per square inch, double that of a lion.
With only 1063 Mountain Gorilla, you should ensure an encounter sooner than later.