One of two sub-species of the eastern gorilla, the mountain gorilla is native to just two areas; the volcanic Virunga mountain range in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo and in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest of Uganda.
With fur thicker and longer than other gorilla species, the mountain gorilla is able to live in colder temperatures. Their fur is mainly black, however as adult males age the hair on their back turns white, forming the iconic silvery “saddle” of the silverback gorilla. Their arms are longer than their legs and although males usually weight about 195 kg they can support their whole weight with their arms. Their faces are bald and they can be identified by their nose prints which are unique to each individual!
The mountain gorilla has become increasingly endangered since the 1990s due to illegal poaching, disease, war and deforestation destroying their habitat. Recent estimates state the wild population of mountain gorillas may be less than 880.
DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA FUND
Founded in 1978, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund finances anti-poaching patrols to protect critically endangered mountain gorillas from illegal poachers who hunt the animals for their head and hands which are sold as trophies.
Dr Dian Fossey began conservation efforts back in 1967 when she established the Karisoke Research Center in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda where for 45 years, a dedicated team have researched and nurtured the slowly increasing population of mountain gorillas.
The world tragically lost Dr Dian Fossey in 1985 but donations to her Gorilla Fund continue to fund the Karisoke Research Center and anti-poaching protection needed to keep the mountain gorillas alive, well and thriving.